Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama: The Fairytale Candidate

CARTER and MILLER: Fairy-tale candidate
James Carter and James Miller III

Once upon a time and far, far away from mainstream America, lived a U.S. senator named Barack Obama. Mr. Obama had a gift, a truly wondrous gift. He could spin troublesome facts into political gold. And perhaps, with enough spinning, he could even spin himself into the White House.

Bill Clinton understood this. He called Mr. Obama's spin "the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." Like other fairy tales, this one requires a total suspension of disbelief. Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame) had his magic beans. Mr. Obama has his magic facts. Consider the following so-called facts:

-- Magic Fact No. 1: Senator Obama will cut income taxes "for 95 percent of working families, 95 percent."

It would be truly magical to be able to cut income taxes on 95 percent of working families when only 68 percent of tax filers actually pay the federal income tax. According to the Internal Revenue Service, of the 136 million income tax returns filed in 2006, 43 million returns reported positive adjusted gross income but had no income tax liability because of assorted deductions, exemptions and tax credits.

So how do you give a tax cut to someone who doesn't pay income taxes? Mr. Obama proposes a massive program of "refundable tax credits." Those on the receiving end would simply get a check from the federal government. In other words, they would pay a "negative tax."

By wrapping a thoroughly liberal position - larger welfare benefits - in the mantle of tax cuts, Mr. Obama has very nearly managed to neutralize one of the defining issues of this presidential campaign. If that sleight of hand isn't magic, we don't know what is.

-- Magic Fact No. 2: Mr. Obama pays "for every dime" of his proposals.

According to the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation, Mr. Obama has offered 73 proposals that would collectively increase federal spending $365.6 billion annually. That's literally a $1 billion-a-day spending increase. And, unfortunately, that figure doesn't include the cost of Mr. Obama's 88 other spending proposals for which no reliable cost estimates exist.

How does Mr. Obama propose to pay for these new and expanded spending programs? He begins by squeezing defense spending. He would then repeal "the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans." (Never mind that the Bush tax cuts are already scheduled to expire and that the revenue is already included in the government's budget forecasts.) Finally, he would "close corporate loopholes, [and] stop providing tax cuts to corporations that are shipping jobs overseas."

These steps would not come close to paying for the senator's spending proposals. Assuming they offset $100 billion of new spending, paying for the other $265.6 billion (still ignoring the cost of Mr. Obama's other 88 programs) would require an across-the-board income tax increase of 19 percent. And, of course, this figure does not reflect the tax increase that would be necessary to pay for Mr. Obama's "tax cuts."

The IRS reported earlier this year that the top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers shouldered 60 percent of the federal income tax burden in 2006. If Mr. Obama insists upon having a tiny fraction of Americans shoulder the cost of his spending and tax proposals, the tax increase on those taxpayers would have to be huge - far larger than the 19 percent tax increase described above. This would slow investment, employment and economic growth - and, yes, total governmental receipts.

Sen. Hillary Clinton once threatened, "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." Perhaps she would have been Mr. Obama's ideal running mate after all.

-- Magic Fact No. 3: Economists overwhelming favor Mr. Obama's economic policies.

The Obama campaign likes to say it has the support of professional economists. Yet, that "fact" is based on two, methodologically flawed polls circulating the Internet. True enough, majorities of those surveyed said they favor Mr. Obama's economic policies. What else would you expect from a poll where Democrat responders outnumbered Republicans by nearly 3-to-1? Only 17 percent of the surveyed economists were Republican. In the second poll, Democrats outnumbered Republicans nearly 5-to-1. Only 10 percent of the respondents were Republican.

Meanwhile, more than 500 economists from across the country, including five Nobel Laureates, have signed a statement supporting Sen. John McCain's economic plan. (For the text of the statement and a complete list of the signatories, see
The fairy tale candidate may yet become the fairy tale president. But will the story end with "and the American people lived happily ever after?"

James E. Carter, a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury from 2002 to 2006, is an economist with the U.S. Senate. James C. Miller III served as President Reagan's budget director from 1985 to 1988 and is now a senior adviser at Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Obama's Tax Illusion

(Click the title above for the original WSJ article)

Obama's 95% Illusion
It depends on what the meaning of 'tax cut' is.

One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." He's even promising to cut taxes enough that the government's tax share of GDP will be no more than 18.2% -- which is lower than it is today.

It's a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."

For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals:

  • A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.

  • A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).

  • A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.

  • A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.

  • A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.
Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.

The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.

The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.

The political left defends "refundability" on grounds that these payments help to offset the payroll tax. And that was at least plausible when the only major refundable credit was the earned-income tax credit. Taken together, however, these tax credit payments would exceed payroll levies for most low-income workers.

It is also true that John McCain proposes a refundable tax credit -- his $5,000 to help individuals buy health insurance. We've written before that we prefer a tax deduction for individual health care, rather than a credit. But the big difference with Mr. Obama is that Mr. McCain's proposal replaces the tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance that individuals don't now receive if they buy on their own. It merely changes the nature of the tax subsidy; it doesn't create a new one.

There's another catch: Because Mr. Obama's tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge "marginal" tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.

Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory. The tax credits are sold in the name of "making work pay," but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you're a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year. One mystery -- among many -- of the McCain campaign is why it has allowed Mr. Obama's 95% illusion to go unanswered.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Obama's 143 days of experience

Source: Obama's 143 Days of Senate Experience

Posted By Cheri Jacobus On May 5, 2008

Just how much Senate experience does Barack Obama have in terms of actual work days? Not much.

From the time Barack Obama was sworn in as a United State Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate. That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.

After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan.

143 days -- I keep leftovers in my refrigerator longer than that.

In contrast, John McCain's 26 years in Congress, 22 years of military service including 1,966 days in captivity as a POW in Hanoi now seem more impressive than ever. At 71, John McCain may just be hitting his stride

Even Chris Matthews of MSNBC calls bullshit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grab your helmet... the market has crashed

(Some of this is paraphrased and plagiarised, but it echoes how I feel. Nevertheless, it is me talking. - B)

There's a belief we as a society are beyond saving. We all hope this is wrong, but reality is I hear people talk about how they are hurting and the government must do something. If we expect the government to save us, then, yes we are doomed. I am still a relatively young guy, but at no time in my life do I ever recall people so unwilling to help themselves.

When times get tough, banks fail, capitalists make stupid choices, gas prices go up, hurricanes hit cities, the stock market goes down, people can't buy the newest and best toys - whatever it is, they immediately turn to government and tell them to do something... anything. We have grown weak as a nation and as a people. I believe like so many empires before us, we are in the waning days of what was once a great country and pray this is an inaccurate estimate.

There is a tone in the Obama campaign that the rich have placed us in harm's way. The "little man" can't get ahead. It's time to redistribute the wealth, he says. I'm no great student of history, but I think the Bolsheviks tried that in 1917, creating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. No, this isn't McCarthyism talking. I'm just saying I'm not rich, and I'm happy to work for my possessions and freedom.

In some of the editorials I read an argument was made. "It's a fundamental reality of human nature that as life becomes easier and better, people tend to become weaker." The media, right along with most of the populace, outrage (and rightly so) over America's financial collapse, pointing fingers at a collective bogeyman called "the rich," while missing the real problem - that a majority of Americans have become weak. If people in the U.S. were strong, anything would be possible. We proved that for more than 150 years of our existence. A weak people, on the other hand, can do nothing. A weak people throws tantrums and makes demands that "the state" restore their trips to Disneyland, dinners at The Cheesecake Factory, and the newest and latest versions of their electronic toys from China."

When you read this I think of Iraq and a quote that said, "There's a belief that America is at war. Wrong. The US Military is at war. America is at the mall."

One thing the American media likes to propagate if FUD - fear, uncertainty, and doubt. No kidding, there's plenty to fear out there. Financial implosion, rising healthcare costs, economic instability, inflation, threatened retirements, unemployment. When it comes to the current situation (banks crashing and financial crisis), Democrats and the media left would lead you, the sheeple, to believe it is all the Bush Administration's fault.

Wrong. It’s this guy’s fault. Alan Greenspan.

It goes back farther, but here’s a small piece of the genesis...

On November 12, 1999, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which also created the FDIC. One of the effects of the repeal was to allow commercial and investment banks to consolidate. Some economists have criticized the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act as contributing to the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis.

The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980's. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act.

The repeal enabled commercial lenders such as Citigroup, the largest U.S. bank by assets, to underwrite and trade instruments such as mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations and establish so-called structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, that bought those securities. Citigroup played a major part in the repeal. Then called Citicorp, the company merged with Travelers Insurance company the year before using loopholes in Glass-Steagall that allowed for temporary exemptions. With lobbying led by Roger Levy, the "finance, insurance and real estate industries together are regularly the largest campaign contributors and biggest spenders on lobbying of all business sectors [in 1999]. They laid out more than $200 million for lobbying in 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics..." These industries succeeded in their two decades long effort to repeal the act.

Another “gotcha” is the Community Reinvestment Act.

Take six minutes and watch this video which is a painful indictment of the Democrat's involvement in CRA and its role in our current financial predicament.

And, lastly, read this 1999 NY Times Article which points hard to the Clinton Administration and predicts the calamity of today. Ouch.

In a speech in February 2004,
[1] Greenspan suggested that more homeowners should consider taking out Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) where the interest rate adjusts itself to the current interest in the market. The Fed’s own funds rate was at an all-time-low of 1%. A few months after his recommendation, Greenspan began raising interest rates, in a series of rate hikes that would bring the funds rate to 5.25% about two years later.[2] A triggering factor in the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis is believed to be the many subprime ARMs that reset at much higher interest rates than what the borrower paid during the first few years of the mortgage.

In that same speech, Greenspan had suggested that lenders should offer to home purchasers a greater variety of "mortgage product alternatives" other than traditional fixed-rate mortgages.[3] Greenspan also praised the rise of the subprime mortgage industry and the tools with which it uses to assess credit-worthiness in an April 2005 speech:

"Innovation has brought about a multitude of new products, such as subprime loans and niche credit programs for immigrants. Such developments are representative of the market responses that have driven the financial services industry throughout the history of our country… With these advances in technology, lenders have taken advantage of credit-scoring models and other techniques for efficiently extending credit to a broader spectrum of consumers… Where once more-marginal applicants would simply have been denied credit, lenders are now able to quite efficiently judge the risk posed by individual applicants and to price that risk appropriately. These improvements have led to rapid growth in subprime mortgage lending; indeed, today subprime mortgages account for roughly 10 percent of the number of all mortgages outstanding, up from just 1 or 2 percent in the early 1990s."[4]

But what gets me is this - The Fed, even with Greenspan endorsing risky lending, saw this coming.

“Failed economic policies of the Bush Administration,” Obama would have you believe. Hey, Barrack. Guess what.. look to moves made during the Clinton presidency for the source of this country’s woes.

But whether you voted for Clinton or Bush or not. The real culprit is us – the American people. Neither Clinton or Bush or Greenspan advocated that we all go out and buy more house than we could afford. Neither stood on a mountain and said taking Detroit’s 0% financing offer for the truck or SUV was a good or bad idea. WE are victims of our own free will. The unpredictability of rising fuel costs, facilitated by tight supply and a weak dollar (thanks again, Alan), put the squeeze on us and we got caught.

Free enterprise. Capitalism. If the government is guilty of anything it is guilty of not protecting us from ourselves and our insatiable desire for stuff. Time to pay for our mistakes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

An educated decision

Thomas Sowell was born in North Carolina and grew up in Harlem. As with many others in his neighborhood, he left home early and did not finish high school. The next few years were difficult ones, but eventually he joined the Marine Corps and became a photographer in the Korean War. After leaving the service, Sowell entered Harvard University, worked a part-time job as a photographer and studied the science that would become his passion and profession: economics.

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University (1958), he went on to receive his master's in economics from Columbia University (1959) and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago (1968).

In the early '60s, Sowell held jobs as an economist with the Department of Labor and AT&T, but his real interest was in teaching and scholarship. In 1965, at Cornell University, he began the first of many professorships. His other teaching assignments include Rutgers University, Amherst University, Brandeis University, and the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught in the early '70s and also from 1984 to 1989.

Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Moreover, much of his writing is considered ground-breaking -- work that will outlive the great majority of scholarship done today.

Though Sowell had been a regular contributor to newspapers in the late '70s and early '80s, he did not begin his career as a newspaper columnist until 1984. George F. Will's writing, says Sowell, proved to him that someone could say something of substance in so short a space (750 words). And besides, writing for the general public enables him to address the heart of issues without the smoke and mirrors that so often accompany academic writing.

In 1990, he won the prestigious Francis Boyer Award, presented by The American Enterprise Institute.

Currently Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, CA.

Just so we have no idea of a hoax
This is the real deal...

- bw

Obama and McCain
Thomas Sowell
Thursday, June 05, 2008

Now that the two parties have finally selected their presidential candidates, it is time for a sober -- if not grim -- assessment of where we are. Not since 1972 have we been presented with two such painfully inadequate candidates. When election day came that year, I could not bring myself to vote for either George McGovern or Richard Nixon. I stayed home.

This year, none of us has that luxury. While all sorts of gushing is going on in the media, and posturing is going on in politics, the biggest national sponsor of terrorism in the world-- Iran-- is moving step by step toward building a nuclear bomb.

The point when they get that bomb will be the point of no return. Iran's nuclear bomb will be the terrorists' nuclear bomb-- and they can make 9/11 look like child's play.

All the options that are on the table right now will be swept off the table forever. Our choices will be to give in to whatever the terrorists demand-- however outrageous those demands might be-- or to risk seeing American cities start disappearing in radioactive mushroom clouds.

All the things we are preoccupied with today, from the price of gasoline to health care to global warming, will suddenly no longer matter.

Just as the Nazis did not find it enough to simply kill people in their concentration camps, but had to humiliate and dehumanize them first, so we can expect terrorists with nuclear weapons to both humiliate us and force us to humiliate ourselves, before they finally start killing us.

They have already telegraphed their punches with their sadistic beheadings of innocent civilians, and with the popularity of videotapes of those beheadings in the Middle East.

They have already telegraphed their intention to dictate to us with such things as Osama bin Laden's threats to target those places in America that did not vote the way he prescribed in the 2004 elections. He could not back up those threats then but he may be able to in a very few years.

The terrorists have given us as clear a picture of what they are all about as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis did during the 1930s-- and our 'leaders' and intelligentsia have ignored the warning signs as resolutely as the 'leaders' and intelligentsia of the 1930s downplayed the dangers of Hitler.

We are much like people drifting down the Niagara River, oblivious to the waterfalls up ahead. Once we go over those falls, we cannot come back up again.

What does this have to do with today's presidential candidates? It has everything to do with them.

One of these candidates will determine what we are going to do to stop Iran from going nuclear-- or whether we are going to do anything other than talk, as Western leaders talked in the 1930s.

There is one big difference between now and the 1930s. Although the West's lack of military preparedness and its political irresolution led to three solid years of devastating losses to Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, nevertheless when all the West's industrial and military forces were finally mobilized, the democracies were able to turn the tide and win decisively.

But you cannot lose a nuclear war for three years and then come back. You cannot even sustain the will to resist for three years when you are first broken down morally by threats and then devastated by nuclear bombs.

Our one window of opportunity to prevent this will occur within the term of whoever becomes President of the United States next January.

At a time like this, we do not have the luxury of waiting for our ideal candidate or of indulging our emotions by voting for some third party candidate to show our displeasure-- at the cost of putting someone in the White House who is not up to the job.

Senator John McCain has been criticized in this column many times, but when all is said and done, Senator McCain has not spent decades aiding and abetting people who hate America.

On the contrary, he has paid a huge price for resisting our enemies, even when they held him prisoner and tortured him. The choice between him and Barack Obama should be a no-brainer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who has control of the budget, stupid?

Supporting article here

Sunday, May. 02, 2004
Where Presidents Have No Power
By Charles Krauthammer

We are the home of the brave and the land of the free, but our elections are an exercise in irrationality. Presidential races are won and lost largely on the state of the economy. War is the only larger issue, and of course this year Iraq looms large. But bad news from Iraq appears not to be altering the presidential race. John Kerry certainly seems to think the election will hinge on the economy, which is why he just spent three days riding 427 miles through the economically hard-hit Midwest on a bus called the Jobs First Express.

The last challenger to unseat an incumbent President, Bill Clinton, ran on the axiom that it's "the economy, stupid." He won, but that does not make the assumption — that Presidents control the economy — any less fictitious. They do not. The idea that they do, the central motif of most every presidential election, is crazy.

"Bill Clinton and Al Gore created 22 million new jobs." So says Democratic National Committee chief Terry McAuliffe and just about every Democrat alive. How can anyone believe this? Clinton did not create any jobs. Bill Gates (Microsoft) did. Andy Grove (Intel) did. Jeff Bezos ( did. In fact, they created an industry. The '90s were a decade when the silicon chip met the "peace dividend" -- billions saved by the ending of the cold war -- and gave us an economic boom. Clinton deserves credit for not getting in the way. He fulfilled the economic Hippocratic oath: first do no harm. Not screwing up a boom going on around you, however, is not the same as job creation.

The fact is that Presidents have very little effect on the state of the economy. Sure, they can affect trade policy, regulation, the environment and, of course, foreign policy. But the economy? With globalization, trillions of dollars flow daily in and out of financial markets. One dollar in 10 is now involved in foreign trade. All advanced economies are subject to huge outside forces beyond a President's control. Moreover, U.S. Presidents have even less economic control than most other democratic leaders. The President does not control the money supply; the Federal Reserve does. Presidents cannot dictate their own budgets (as Prime Ministers can in parliamentary systems like Britain's); here, Congress has the ultimate say. Even worse, more than half the federal budget goes to entitlements and "transfer payments" like Social Security, where government is merely a conveyor belt transferring money from younger workers to older folks. What is left, "discretionary" spending, is a mere 8% of the $11 trillion economy Presidents are reputed to control.

All of which makes American presidential elections a competition in mythmaking. What exactly did the first George Bush do that made him responsible for the mild recession of 1991 that cost him the election of 1992? Today the Democratic mantra is that the second George Bush has cost the economy nearly 3 million jobs. (The numbers keep changing. It is now down to 1.8 million jobs lost.) However, 94% of net job losses to date occurred during the first year of the Bush Administration. Can anyone seriously argue that an Administration that had barely come into office and whose economic plan had barely been enacted caused those job losses? If they are to be attributed to anyone it should be to Clinton, who had "run" the economy for the previous eight years. But that too would be unfair and irrational. The losses were a result of autonomous economic forces — the Inter-net bust and the subsequent recession — followed by autonomous political events like 9/11 and the war on terrorism.

Yet this election is likely to be decided largely on the economy. And even more narrowly than that. The dominant domestic issue in the past six months has been job creation — a single number, released monthly, that nearly monopolizes political debate and media coverage. When it is up, as it was in March, Republicans rejoice. When it is not, Democrats start measuring for curtains for their White House offices.

This is odd in the extreme. There are a dozen other measures of economic health. Democrats understandably do not want to talk about them because they happen to be positive: the fastest growth rate in the West (now settling in at a healthy 4.2%), historically low interest rates and mortgage rates, record high productivity, record high homeownership, booming home values and low inflation. Why, even the unemployment rate, the traditional measure of the job market, is significantly below the average for the past three decades. Nonetheless, the burning political issue is job creation, a thin slice of the economic picture, which in turn is but one slice of the country's overall well-being — and almost entirely outside a President's control. Bizarrely, that number, and the rhetoric it generates, will have an unprecedented effect on who gets to be President — in other words, who gets to pretend to control the economy for the next four years.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin vs. Obama: A resume comparison

--- Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama

Don't forget, by the way, that they're running for different positions

Sarah Palin

Barack Obama

Office being sought

Vice President

President of the United States and Leader of the Free World

Full name

Sarah Louise Heath Palin

Barack Hussein Obama II


Sarah Barracuda

Barry Obama; "The One"

Public opinion

Attractive in a "naughty librarian" sort of way

May be The Messiah (or the anti-Christ)





5: two sons, three daughters

2: two daughters

Religion/Church attendance

Evangelical Christian;

attends Juneau Christian Center when in Juneau and grew up attending Wasilla Assembly of God

Attended Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years, a "black liberation theology" church formerly led by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and governed according to the Black Value System

Current Job

Governor of Alaska

Junior Senator from Illinois

Previous Public Jobs

Mayor of Wasilla, AK (1996-2006); President of Alaska Conference of Mayors;

City Council member (1992-1996)

State Senator (1997-2004);

Community Organizer

Executive Experience

Governor for 2 years;

Mayor for 10 years


Foreign Relations experience

Governor of state that borders two foreign countries (Canada and Russia)

Chaired Senate subcommittee on Europe but never called it into session;

once gave a speech to 200,000 screaming Germans

Military Affairs experience

Commander in Chief of Alaska National Guard;

Son is enlisted Infantryman in U.S. Army


Private Sector Experience

Sports reporter;

Salmon fisherman

Associate at civil rights law firm

Speaking ability

Beautifully executed initial stump speech in Dayton, OH hockey arena without a teleprompter

Also gave a speech in Texas after her water broke before flying home to Alaska to give birth

An enter...wait- -did you say without a teleprompter??

Spouse's name

Todd Mitchell Palin

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama

Spouse's occupation

Salmon fisherman;

Former North Slope production supervisor for BP Oil

Vice President for Community and External Affairs at University of Chicago Hospitals;

former Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago;

former Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies;

former Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago;

former associate at Sidley Austin law firm

Reaction to spouse's political success

Quit 17-year BP oil job when BP became involved in natural gas pipeline negotiations with wife's administration

Promoted and given 160% pay raise by UofC hospitals within months of husband's election to U.S. Senate;

Employer received $1,000,000.00 federal earmark, requested by husband, after her promotion

Coolest thing about Spouse

Tesoro Iron Dog Snowmobile race champion (longest snowmobile race in the world);

In 2008, while defending his championship, was injured when he was thrown 70 feet from his machine. He was sent to the hospital but still finished in fourth place

Sister of Oregon State University head basketball coach Craig Robinson

Most Courageous Moment in Public Service

Resigned in protest from position of Ethics Commissioner of Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in order to expose legal violations and conflicts of interest of Alaska Republican leaders, including the former state Attorney General and the State GOP Chairman (who was also an Oil & Gas Commissioner) , who was doing work for the party on public time and supplying a lobbyist with a sensitive e-mail.

Gave an anti-Iraq war speech to a crowd of anti-Iraq war demonstrators in Hyde Park in 2002

In Current Office Because...

Upset sitting Governor in GOP primary due to public support for her efforts to clean up corrupt government establishment

Republican opponent, who was leading in the polls, was forced to leave race after unsealing of divorce records exposed a sex scandal


Change and Clean Government

Hope and Change;

"Bringing Change from Outside Washington"

What they've done to live that theme:

Replaced entire Board of Agriculture and Conservation because of conflict of interest;

Resigned from position of Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in order to expose corruption among members of own party

Selected 36-year incumbent Senator as running mate

Family Affairs

May have removed State Public Safety Commissioner as part of effort to protect sister in messy divorce and child custody battle

Often says, "I am my brother's keeper";

Brother lives in a hut in Nairobi on $12 per year

Union affiliation

Union member, married to Union member

Endorsed by a union

Iraq and Troop Support

Formerly (pre-surge) critical of apparent lack of long-term strategy for Iraq;

Visited wounded U.S. soldiers in Germany;

visited AK National Guard soldiers deployed to Kuwait;

Son deploying to Iraq on 9/11/08 as Army infantryman

Gave an anti-Iraq war speech to a crowd of anti-Iraq war demonstrators;

almost visited wounded troops in Germany, but decided to go shopping in Berlin instead

Bipartisan/" maverick" credentials

Married to a non-Republican;

Exposed corruption within own party;

Campaigned for Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell against corrupt GOP congressman Don Young;

Called out Sen Ted Stevens (R-AK) to "come clean" about financial dealings that are under fed investigation

Talks about bipartisanship

Legislative Record

Passed a landmark ethics reform bill;

Used veto to cut budgetary spending;

Prevented "bridge to nowhere" that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars.

Voted "present" over 100 times as IL state senator

How they dealt with corrupt individuals in home city/state

Exposed legal violations and conflicts of interest of Alaska Republican leaders;

Campaigned against corrupt GOP Representative;

Ran against and defeated corrupt incumbent governor in GOP primary

Launched political career in home of unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers (and still refers to him as a part of "mainstream Democratic Chicago";

Purchased home with help of convicted felon Tony Rezko


Lifetime member of NRA and avid hunter;

video can be found on YouTube of Palin firing an M4 at a military firing range

Worked to pass legislation in Illinois that would prevent all law-abiding citizens from owning firearms


Opposed "Bridge to Nowhere" project;

Said Alaska should avoid relying on federal money for projects;

Campaigned against porker Don Young (R-AK) in 2008 primary

Secured federal earmarks for wife's employer and for campaign bundlers


Pro life; gave birth to 5th child knowing that it would have Down's syndrome


only IL state sen. to speak against the Born Alive Infant's Protection Act, which required medical care to be given to live infants who survived abortions


Believes energy independence is a matter of national security;

For drilling in ANWR, which is in her state

Says Americans should "get tune-ups" and "check tire pressure";

Says "we can't expect the world to be okay with" our use of heating and air conditioning


Chair of Alaska Conservation Commission (2003-4);

Announced plans to create sub-cabinet group of advisors to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in AK

Talks about the environment a lot

Athletic prowess

Runs marathons

Has reporters tailing him to the gym

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let the race begin

This is my first blog and Election Day is just around the corner. Tonight the RNC is on day two and I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed because I wonder about the continuance of the the United State's greatness.

This election appears to be the most important in my lifetime. Fuel costs are high, the dollar is weak, there are concerns over home ownership and mortgage industry solvency, we worry about the overall physical health of Americans. The mind-numbing posturing of politicians preaching their opinions while waving the flag makes me wonder what is more important - America, aka We The People, or they open their mouth simply to hear their own voice.

Right now Joe Leiberman is touting a message of putting America first; which seems to be the best thing I've heard today regarding this election. I watched some of the DNC and I saw a prom of sorts. Barrack Obama is a celebrity. He's supported by celebrities such as Oprah and others in Hollywood. The media love him. I think of Bill Mauer and how he has smugly lampoons about the Bush Administration as if he is a duty expert in America and her politics and I'm reminded of a commercial where a soap opera star states, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on television." Bill, if you ever get wind of this... kiss my ass. And bring Ben Affleck and Sean Penn along too.

All over the news today there are criticisms of Sarah Palin, John McCain's VP choice. Rhetoric is bouncing all over the media and the Internet about her inexperience and making an issue of her daughter's pregnancy. When it comes to experience, let's all be remineded - Democrat and Republican - the Oval Office has been occupied by a former state governor (Clinton-AR and Bush-TX). And as for the sensationalist nonsense over Bristol Palin's pregnancy... detractors actually have the audacity to discern because of this, Sarah Palin is an unfit mother, which by default, means she can't lead. How is this any more or less relevant than Bill Clinton's marital infidelity as governor of Arkansas, his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and the claims of "I didn't inhale." Stick to the business of running the country, I say.

It isn't a secret. Obama can deliver a speech. Damn, that man know how to stir an audience. I've always said people eat with their eyes. How many times have you looked at a menu and chosen a meal because the picture looked appealing? If you go solely on photogenic charisma, Obama looks better than McCain. If you go by oratory skills, Obama sounds better than McCain. By profession I'm a salesman, a marketer. I look for problems that my product or service can solve. I do not claim to be the greatest the salesman on the planet but I understand branding, packaging and presentation. As my girlfriend jests, quoting a movie line, I say the same, "What's in the bo-o-o-ox?" When I peel away the minutia disquised as substance I see Obama as a well-intentioned guy but not one that will serve my country. I see a man that is trying to sell my country his message of "change we can believe in" and qualifications based on his charisma and charm. Subsequent posts will demonstrate I feel Obama is the wrong choice for us.

Let the race begin.