Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bold Gamble or Cynical Miscalculation: Palin Pick May Be Harriet Miers II

By selecting the appallingly inexperienced and not ready to be President, Sarah Palin, for his running mate, Candidate McCain has again done something that completely contradicts everything John McCain used to be admired for: straight talk and the ability to set aside party politics or personal political gain and do what is in the best interest of the country.

In a move that can only be understood in terms of desperation and one made out of fear, Candidate McCain wins the political equivalent of the grammy, oscar, pulitizer and nobel prize for hypocrisy. After staking out the issues of experience and judgment as the chief talking points for his campaign and running numerous attack ads against Senator Barack Obama as being too inexperienced to step into the shoes of commander in chief, he chooses as his running mate someone who has only been governor of Alaska, a state with a population about that of the 20th largest city in America, for less than two years. Prior to that, Palin’s only executive experience was two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska population 5,470.

It is incredibly ironic and hypocritical that the prepared talking point the Republicans had in the wings if Obama had chosen Governor Tim Cain of Virginia, was that he was too inexperienced since his political experience prior to being governor was that he was formerly Mayor of Richmond, Virginia a city with a population of approximately 200,000 people.

Furthermore, Candidate McCain unfairly characterized Obama’s position on Iraq as being one of willing to lose a war in order to win an election. Very ironic that it is Candidate McCain who is apparently willing to risk the safety and prosperity of the country with a wholly inexperienced vice president in order to win an election.

Perhaps the best indication of just how miserable a miscalculation McCain has made is when a friend of mine at work, who previously had been solidly in the McCain camp, announced to me on Friday the stunning news that she was voting for Obama. Now here was a person of precisely the demographic that Candidate McCain had hoped to win over with his choice of Palin as a running mate. A conservative, suburban white woman who had previously supported Hillary Clinton. The fundamental fact that the McCain people did not understand was that a lot of Senator Clinton’s support was more out of respect for her competence and, not merely, the fact that she was a woman.

If this anecdote is any indication of the broader electorate demographic, we could be in store for a possible Harriet Miers II situation. Don’t be too surprised that if the poll numbers show a widening lead going to Obama-Biden over the next several weeks, Governor Palin withdraws her name by the end of September for “family” reasons to be replaced by someone less agreeable to the far right, but more qualified and therefore acceptable to the broader electorate.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Historic Night for All Americans: "We" Have Overcome, But the Work is Far From Done!

When President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination in public places engaged in interstate commerce, into law, he knew the battle was not over. He immediately began work on the next piece of the puzzle, passage of the Voters Rights Act, and in the Spring of 1965 he addressed a joint session of Congress and said:

"Even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice." Johnson then paused slightly and concluded: "And we shall overcome."

A little more than 43 years later, another piece of the puzzle was realized when Barack Obama, a man of both African and American heritage, addressed an electrified crowd of 84,000 in a footbal stadium outside of Denver and accepted the Democratic Party's nomination to be President. I am proud to reprint his prepared remarks below.

Senator Barack Obama:

"To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who travelled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours - Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.


Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this

We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.


This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for 20 years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land - enough! This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st Century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On 4 November, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90% of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgement, but really, what does it say about your judgement when you think George Bush has been right more than 90% of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10% chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession", and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners".

'Discredited philosophy'

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5m a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatise social security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

Paying the mortgage

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honours the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

'My heroes'

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Workers' tax cuts

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest $150bn over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American - if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Paid sick days

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect social security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet 21st Century challenges with a 20th Century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength". Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programmes alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.


And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79bn surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgement we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st Century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.


These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realise that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbours who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

Martin Luther King

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

'We cannot walk alone,' the preacher cried

Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and colour, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Great Roll Call Exclusive: McCain Picks Palin

Minneapolis, MN 8:00 A.M.

In a shameless bid to counter his close ties to the Washington establishment and in order to try to inject some new life in a campaign that was near death, McCain will announce his choice of Sarah Palin. The inexperienced Governor of Alaska will be McCain's pick in an attempt to steal some of the women voters still disgruntled over the loss of Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bill Clinton's Speech to DNC: No One Does It Better

I am honored to be here tonight to support Barack Obama. And to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden, though as you'll soon see, he doesn't need any help from me. I love Joe Biden, and America will too.
What a year we Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star line up and came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard fought contest to the very end. The campaign generated so much heat it increased global warming.
In the end, my candidate didn't win. But I'm very proud of the campaign she ran: she never quit on the people she stood up for, on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wants for all our children. And I'm grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to tell Americans about the person we know and love.
I'm not so grateful for the chance to speak in the wake of her magnificent address last night. But I'll do my best.
Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama.
That makes two of us.
Actually that makes 18 million of us - because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.
Here's why.
Our nation is in trouble on two fronts: The American Dream is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the world has been weakened.
Middle class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining; job losses, poverty and inequality rising; mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing; health care coverage disappearing; and a big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.
Our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation; a perilous dependence on imported oil; a refusal to lead on global warming; a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders; a severely burdened military; a backsliding on global non- proliferation and arms control agreements; and a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.
Clearly, the job of the next President is to rebuild the American Dream and restore America's standing in the world.
Everything I learned in my eight years as President and in the work I've done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.
He has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful President needs. His policies on the economy, taxes, health care and energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown a clear grasp of our foreign policy and national security challenges, and a firm commitment to repair our badly strained military. His family heritage and life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation and to restore our leadership in an ever more interdependent world. The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.
With Joe Biden's experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama's proven understanding, insight, and good instincts, America will have the national security leadership we need.
Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.
He will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which help to share the costs of the world's problems and to leverage our power and influence. He will put us back in the forefront of the world's fight to reduce nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and to stop global warming. He will continue and enhance our nation's global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved, the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, including a renewal of the battle against HIV/AIDS here at home. He will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort. But in a world troubled by terror; by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people; by human rights abuses; by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.
Barack Obama also will not allow the world's problems to obscure its opportunities. Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hardworking people need good jobs; secure, affordable healthcare, food, and energy; quality education for their children; and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming. These challenges cry out for American ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and create new jobs for our people.
Most important, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are strong at home. People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.
Look at the example the Republicans have set: American workers have given us consistently rising productivity. They've worked harder and produced more. What did they get in return? Declining wages, less than 1/4 as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s. American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage. I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other severe conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn't afford health care and couldn't qualify their kids for Medicaid unless they quit work or got a divorce. Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of? What about the military families pushed to the breaking point by unprecedented multiple deployments? What about the assault on science and the defense of torture? What about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the well connected? What about Katrina and cronyism?
America can do better than that. And Barack Obama will.
But first we have to elect him.
The choice is clear. The Republicans will nominate a good man who served our country heroically and suffered terribly in Vietnam. He loves our country every bit as much as we all do. As a Senator, he has shown his independence on several issues. But on the two great questions of this election, how to rebuild the American Dream and how to restore America's leadership in the world, he still embraces the extreme philosophy which has defined his party for more than 25 years, a philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and Congress. Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades were implemented.
They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 and a half million falling into poverty - and millions more losing their health insurance.
Now, in spite of all the evidence, their candidate is promising more of the same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy. More band-aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families and increase the number of uninsured. More going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.
They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let's send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm.
My fellow Democrats, sixteen years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.
Together, we prevailed in a campaign in which the Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be Commander-in-Chief. Sound familiar? It didn't work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it won't work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.
His life is a 21st Century incarnation of the American Dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the "more perfect union" of our founders' dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity which have given him his historic chance will drive him as president to give all Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability, their chance to build a decent life, and to show our humanity, as well as our strength, to the world.
We see that humanity, that strength, and our future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children. We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his wife Jill, a dedicated teacher, and their family.
Barack Obama will lead us away from division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope. If, like me, you still believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary, Chelsea and me in making Senator Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fact: Obama Born In Hawaii. Case Closed.

The latest Swift Boat Smear Campaign to hit the internet is that Barrack Obama is not eligible to be President because he was not born in the United States. This flat out lie is being spread online by David Duke's White Supremacist site,

I think the most comical allegation comes from the Complaint in the lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Obama candidacy. The lawsuit claims three "independent" document forensic experts performed extensive tests on the digitally-scanned image of Obama's "Certificate of Live Birth" posted on the campaign's site and found the document to be "a forgery."

Anyone with any experience with forensic science and the legal rules of evidence or even an iota of common sense knows you must examine the original document to lay the foundation to give an expert opinion to challenge the authenticity of a document. Yet I know intelligent people who are attorneys that are apparently so dissatisfied with their choices in the presidential election, that they are not using their critical thinking skills when confronted with such garbage.

The highly respected, nonpartisan and beyond reproach run by the University of Pennsylvania's esteemed Annenberg School of Journalism wrote the following article totally debunking the pathetic, desperate and racist story of Corsi, Duke and the other "nattering nabobs of negativity".

Born in the U.S.A.
August 21, 2008
The truth about Obama's birth certificate.
In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document's authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is "fake."

We beg to differ. staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as "supporting documents" to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.

Since we first wrote about Obama's birth certificate on June 16, speculation on his citizenship has continued apace. Some claim that Obama posted a fake birth certificate to his Web page. That charge leaped from the blogosphere to the mainstream media earlier this week when Jerome Corsi, author of a book attacking Obama, repeated the claim in an Aug. 15 interview with Steve Doocy on Fox News.

Corsi: Well, what would be really helpful is if Senator Obama would release primary documents like his birth certificate. The campaign has a false, fake birth certificate posted on their website. How is anybody supposed to really piece together his life?

Doocy: What do you mean they have a "false birth certificate" on their Web site?

Corsi: The original birth certificate of Obama has never been released, and the campaign refuses to release it.

Doocy: Well, couldn't it just be a State of Hawaii-produced duplicate?

Corsi: No, it's a -- there's been good analysis of it on the Internet, and it's been shown to have watermarks from Photoshop. It's a fake document that's on the Web site right now, and the original birth certificate the campaign refuses to produce.

Corsi isn't the only skeptic claiming that the document is a forgery. Among the most frequent objections we saw on forums, blogs and e-mails are:

The birth certificate doesn't have a raised seal.
It isn't signed.
No creases from folding are evident in the scanned version.

In the zoomed-in view, there's a strange halo around the letters.
The certificate number is blacked out.
The date bleeding through from the back seems to say "2007," but the document wasn't released until 2008.
The document is a "certification of birth," not a "certificate of birth."

Recently FactCheck representatives got a chance to spend some time with the birth certificate, and we can attest to the fact that it is real and three-dimensional and resides at the Obama headquarters in Chicago. We can assure readers that the certificate does bear a raised seal, and that it's stamped on the back by Hawaii state registrar Alvin T. Onaka (who uses a signature stamp rather than signing individual birth certificates). We even brought home a few photographs.

The Obama birth certificate, held by FactCheck writer Joe Miller

Alvin T. Onaka's signature stamp

The raised seal

Blowup of text

You can click on the photos to get full-size versions, which haven't been edited in any way, except that some have been rotated 90 degrees for viewing purposes.

The certificate has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport: "your full name, the full name of your parent(s), date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records." The names, date and place of birth, and filing date are all evident on the scanned version, and you can see the seal above.

The document is a "certification of birth," also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents' hometowns. The short form is printed by the state and draws from a database with fewer details. The Hawaii Department of Health's birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department. We tried to ask the Hawaii DOH why they only offer the short form, among other questions, but they have not given a response.

The scan released by the campaign shows halos around the black text, making it look (to some) as though the text might have been pasted on top of an image of security paper. But the document itself has no such halos, nor do the close-up photos we took of it. We conclude that the halo seen in the image produced by the campaign is a digital artifact from the scanning process.

We asked the Obama campaign about the date stamp and the blacked-out certificate number. The certificate is stamped June 2007, because that's when Hawaii officials produced it for the campaign, which requested that document and "all the records we could get our hands on" according to spokesperson Shauna Daly. The campaign didn't release its copy until 2008, after speculation began to appear on the Internet questioning Obama's citizenship. The campaign then rushed to release the document, and the rush is responsible for the blacked-out certificate number. Says Shauna: "[We] couldn't get someone on the phone in Hawaii to tell us whether the number represented some secret information, and we erred on the side of blacking it out. Since then we've found out it's pretty irrelevant for the outside world." The document we looked at did have a certificate number; it is 151 1961 - 010641.

Blowup of certificate number
Some of the conspiracy theories that have circulated about Obama are quite imaginative. One conservative blogger suggested that the campaign might have obtained a valid Hawaii birth certificate, soaked it in solvent, then reprinted it with Obama's information. Of course, this anonymous blogger didn't have access to the actual document and presents this as just one possible "scenario" without any evidence that such a thing actually happened or is even feasible.

We also note that so far none of those questioning the authenticity of the document have produced a shred of evidence that the information on it is incorrect. Instead, some speculate that somehow, maybe, he was born in another country and doesn't meet the Constitution's requirement that the president be a "natural-born citizen."

We think our colleagues at, who also dug into some of these loopy theories put it pretty well: "It is possible that Obama conspired his way to the precipice of the world’s biggest job, involving a vast network of people and government agencies over decades of lies. Anything’s possible. But step back and look at the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and your sense of what’s reasonable has to take over."

In fact, the conspiracy would need to be even deeper than our colleagues realized. In late July, a researcher looking to dig up dirt on Obama instead found a birth announcement that had been published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, Aug. 13, 1961:

Obama's birth announcement

The announcement was posted by a pro-Hillary Clinton blogger who grudgingly concluded that Obama "likely" was born Aug. 4, 1961 in Honolulu.

Of course, it's distantly possible that Obama's grandparents may have planted the announcement just in case their grandson needed to prove his U.S. citizenship in order to run for president someday. We suggest that those who choose to go down that path should first equip themselves with a high-quality tinfoil hat. The evidence is clear: Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.

–by Jess Henig, with Joe Miller
United States Department of State. "Application for a U.S. Passport." Accessed 20 Aug. 2008.

State of Hawaii Department of Health. "Request for Certified Copy of Birth Record." Accessed 20 Aug. 2008.

Hollyfield, Amy. "Obama's Birth Certificate: Final Chapter." 27 Jun. 2008.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Republican And Former Congressman Jim Leach Reminds Democrats When GOP Had Progressive Leaders Who Fought For All Americans

Republican and former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach delivered the following speech to the Democratic National Convention tonite in Denver, reminding us when the GOP actually had leaders. Men like Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln and Ike, men who stood for progressive values, truth over privilege and power and put country first. I am proud to provide the full text of Congressman Leach's words of wisdom.

"As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic. In less than a decade America’s political and economic standing in the world has been diminished. Our nation’s extraordinary leadership in so many areas is simply not reflected in the partisan bickering and ideological politics of Washington. Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment.

The platform of this transformative figure is a call for change. The change Barack Obama is advocating is far more than a break with today’s politics. It is a clarion call for renewal rooted in time-tested American values that tap Republican, as well as Democratic traditions. Perspective is difficult to bring to events of the day, but in sweeping terms, there have been four great debates in our history to which both parties have contributed.

The first debate, led by Thomas Jefferson, the first Democrat to be elected president, centered on the question of whether a country could be established, based on The Rights of Man.

The second debate, led by Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to be elected president, was about definitions—whether The Rights of Man applied to individuals who were neither pale nor male. It took almost two centuries of struggle, hallmarked by a civil war, the suffrage and abolitionist movements, the Harlem renaissance and a courageous civil rights leadership to bring meaning to the values embedded in the Declaration of Independence.

The third debate, symbolized by the new deal of Franklin Roosevelt and the emphasis on individual initiative of Ronald Reagan, involves the question of opportunity, whether rights are fully meaningful if all citizens are not given a chance to succeed and provide for their families.

The fourth debate, which acquired grim relevance with the dawn of the nuclear age, is the question of whether any rights are possible without peace and environmental security.

The American progressive tradition reflected in these debates spans Democratic standard bearers from the prairie populist William Jennings Bryan to the Camelot statesman, John F. Kennedy. It includes Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt, who built up the National Parks system and broke down corporate monopolies, and Dwight David Eisenhower, who ran on a pledge to end a war in Korea, brought a stop to European colonial intervention in the Middle East, quietly integrated the Washington, D.C., school system and not so quietly sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to squash segregation in public schools throughout the country.

In models of international statecraft, progressive leadership includes Al Gore, who helped galvanize worldwide understanding of the most challenging environmental threat currently facing the planet, and our current president’s father, who led an internationally sanctioned coalition to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

In Congress, Democratic senators like Pat Moynihan and Mike Mansfield served in Republican administrations. On the Republican side, Arthur Vandenberg helped President Truman launch the Marshall Plan, and Everett Dirksen backed Lyndon Johnson’s landmark civil rights legislation.

In troubled times, it was understood that country comes before party, that in perilous moments mutual concern for the national interest must be the only factor in political judgments. This does not mean that debate within and between the political parties should not be vibrant. Yet what frustrates so many citizens is the lack of bipartisanship in Washington and the way today’s Republican Party has broken with its conservative heritage.

The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values. The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that did not attack us. The party that formerly led the world in arms control has moved to undercut treaties crucial to the defense of the earth. The party that prides itself on conservation has abdicated its responsibilities in the face of global warming. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts.

America has seldom faced more critical choices: whether we should maintain an occupational force for decades in a country and region that resents western intervention or elect a leader who, in a carefully structured way, will bring our troops home from Iraq as the heroes they are.

Whether it is wise to continue to project power largely alone with flickering support around the world or elect a leader who will follow the model of General Eisenhower and this president’s father and lead in concert with allies.

Whether it is prudent to borrow from future generations to pay for today’s reckless fiscal policies or elect a leader who will shore up our budgets and return to a strong dollar.

Whether it is preferable to continue the policies that have weakened our position in the world, deepened our debt and widened social divisions or elect a leader who will emulate John F. Kennedy and relight a lamp of fairness at home and reassert an energizing mix of realism and idealism abroad.

The portfolio of challenges passed on to the next president will be as daunting as any since the Great Depression and World War II. This is not a time for politics as usual or for run-of-the-mill politicians. Little is riskier to the national interest than more of the same. America needs new ideas, new energy and a new generation of leadership.

Hence, I stand before you proud of my party’s contributions to American history but, as a citizen, proud as well of the good judgment of good people in this good party, in nominating a transcending candidate, an individual whom I am convinced will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president: the senator from Abraham Lincoln’s state—Barack Obama.

Thank you."

No, thank you Jim Leach, Republican, statesman and true American.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coleman Campaign In "Deep Water"

These days the Coleman Campaign is much like the tragic and doomed voyage of amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst, who got in way over his head by entering the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world boat race.

Like Crowhurst, who in order to finance his stake in the race, had to sign contracts of adhesion with disreputable characters which placed his family in financial jeopardy and himself in moral bankruptcy; Coleman has accepted millions of dollars in campaign contributions (i.e legal bribery) from disreputable corporate interests like big oil and big pharmacy thereby placing middle and working class families in financial jeopardy and raising questions as to Coleman's ethics and just whose interests' Senator Coleman has been really really serving while in Washington. Colemans's voting record in support of the "no-negotiating clause" in the medicare drug law and billions of tax refunds for Mobil and Exxon when at the same time they are reporting record shattering quarterly profits, leave little doubt as to the answer.

Unlike Crowhurst, a likable, tragicomic figure, who was so conflicted and effected by the choices he made that, sadly, he felt he had no way out other than suicide; Coleman seems completely unaffected by the predicament he has placed American families in. Coleman is so consumed by his addiction to power and self-importance that he has the gall to not only run for re-election, but to shamelessly and falsely portray himself as an independent when in actuality he was handpicked to run by, and in return, thereafter supported, George W. Bush 95% of the time.

I highly recommend that you tune in to see Independent Lens' excellent documentary on Crowhurst entitled "Deep Water" on Public Television, which is being rebroadcast in the Twin Cities on Monday August 25, 2008 on Channel 17 at 7 P.M.

I also highly recommend that you seriously consider whether you are better off now than you were 6 or 8 years ago, and if not whether you and your family can afford 4 and 6 more years of arrogance, indifference and incompetence that have been the hallmarks of the Bush-Coleman-McCain legacies.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama: Just Biden His Time To The Presidency

First of all, let's just get it out of the way right here and now. Way back in the fall of 1987, when running for the Democratic Party's endorsement for the Presidency, Biden's speechwriters and staff failed to cite or credit British Labour leader Neil Kinnock for the following except:

"Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife... is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? ...Is it because they didn't work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It's because they didn't have a platform on which to stand."

Approximately five months earlier, at a Welsh Labour Party conference in May 1987, Mr. Kinnock had given a speech wherein he said:

"Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn't get what we had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand"

There it is all out in the open and now hopefully we can focus on real issues like an economy in shambles thanks to supply side "voodoo" economics of Reagan, the Bushes and now McCain. I look forward to the Vice Presidential debates between Biden and either Romney or Pawlenty, neither of which can carry Joe Biden's water when it comes to foreign policy experience not to mention Biden's many decades on the judiciary committee. Biden's judiciary committee experience will come in handy when digging out of the mess that Bush and Alberto Gonzales made out of the Justice Department and the fiasco that is Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, and military tribunals.

All in all this was a sound decision by Obama and bodes well for us a nation should we be intelligent enough to elect this first rate team to get our country back on track.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Plainsense Has Entered the Fray: See My Comments Concerning Slate Article "Crimes and Misdemeanors "

Excellent Article but Leaves Out K Street Project by Plainsense 08/16/2008

I applaud Kara Hadge, Emily Bazelon, Dahlia Lithwick and Chris Wilson for their excellent article. My one piece of constructive criticism is their leaving out completely the biggest influence peddling scandal in history, Abramoff & company's "K Street Project".

One should never let the electorate forget in this extremely important election year that the Bush Admin presided over the worst corruption scandal since Tea Pot Dome or before that, the Grant Admin.

Remember when the scandal first broke and Bush and the White House denied even knowing Abramoff?

When confronted with pictures of them together, it was dismissed by the White House PR hacks as just typical Washington cocktail circuit photo ops. Then nearly a year later it was revealed that Abramoff had over 400 direct contacts by phone or email with the West Wing of the White House. They were'nt just talking baseball.

See "Crimes and Misdemeanors" By Emily Bazelon, Kara Hadge, Dahlia Lithwick, and Chris Wilson Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama vs. McCain Tax Plans: Unless You're A Corporation or Make Over $250,000 Per Year,Obama's Your Man

Coming on the heels of the GAO's astounding report that U.S. corporations made trillions of dollars in income yet 2/3's of them paid absolutely no, zero, zilch, nada, not one red-state dime in taxes, you would think that the middle and lower classes in this country (which comprise approximately 95 percent of the population) would be in the harbor dressed in Native American garb with torches and pitchforks in a modern-day version of the Boston Tea Party.

Well, let's step back for a minute, draw a deep cleansing breath and survey the tax landscape in a calm and rational manner.

Senator Obama's tax plan would restore fairness to the system and focus on the downtrodden middle class which has seen a decline of over $1,000.00 annually in real income over the Bush years. Remember the old American truism that the next generation will be better off than their parents'? Not anymore thanks to the massive shifting of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the ultra-weatlthy during the years of Republican control of Congress and the White House. Let's look at the candidates respective tax plans:

Senator Obama's Tax plan Calls For:

•A $1,000 Making Work Pay Tax Credit for 95% of Workers. Obama will provide a refundable tax cut of $500 for workers or $1,000 for working couples.

•Generous Additional Tax Cuts for Middle Class Families. Obama will provide a package of tax cuts to help families afford health care, college and save for retirement.

•Cutting Taxes To Below Where They Were Under President Reagan. Under Obama’s plan total federal taxes for typical families would be 19 percent lower than they were under President Reagan.

Senator McCain's Tax Plan Calls For:

•Only Middle Class Tax Cut Leaves Out 101 Million Households. McCain’s only direct tax cut for the middle class is an increase in the dependent exemption, which leaves out 101 million households with absolutely no benefit. Overall, the National Review concluded that the McCain plan offers “very little in the way of direct benefits” to the middle class.

•About $125 in Middle Class Tax Relief for Families Who Benefit. For a family with two children, McCain’s proposal to increase the dependent exemption would offer only about $125 in relief during the first year of his plan.

Tax Rates for Working Families:

•No Tax Increases for Families Making Under $250,000. Barack Obama has
made firm commitment not to raise any taxes for families making under $250,000
(and individuals making under $200,000).

•$3.6 Trillion in Tax Increases on Working Families. McCain’s health would require families to pay income taxes on their health benefits. According to McCain top advisors, his health care plan will accordingly be financed by a $3.6 trillion tax increase on working families. Even after taking into account McCain’s health tax credit, eventually tens of millions of middle class families would
pay more taxes.

Obama's Tax Plan for Corporation, Small Business and Innovation:

Corporate Tax Policies:

•End Tax Breaks for Companies That Ship Jobs Overseas. Would reverse the backwards incentive that allows companies to defer or avoid taxes entirely if they invest overseas while
requiring them to pay full and immediate taxes if they invest in America.

•New Tax Breaks for Companies That Create Jobs in America. For companies that expand or create jobs in America, Barack Obama would lower corporate tax rates with the savings attained from ending deferral.

•Voted to retain tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

•Nearly $200 billion in tax cuts to corporations, even if they do not invest in the US or create a single US job.

$4bn for large oil companies
$2bn for health insurance companies

Small Business Tax Policies:

•Eliminate Capital Gains for Small Businesses. Obama would cut capital gains taxes to 0% for investments in small businesses and start ups.

•A New Small Business Healthcare Tax Credit. Obama would provide a 50% health care tax credit to small businesses and lower health insurance costs by $2,500 per family for all firms.

•Would continue to tax capital gains for small businesses at 15%.

•Added Costs for Firms That Provide Health Insurance. McCain would tax
employer contributions to employee health insurance plans for the first time in history.

Innovation Tax Policies:

· Make Permanent the R&D Tax Credit. Will give firms a strong, consistent incentive to invest in new R&D jobs here in the United States.

•Expand the Renewable Production Tax Credit. Would extend the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for 5 years to encourage investment in renewable energy.
•Reduces the Effectiveness of the R&D Credit. Would reform the R&D credit into a flat 10% credit that would weaken the incentive for firms to invest in new research jobs, and could reward companies that are cutting research and moving jobs overseas.

•Opposes Energy Research Incentives. Has repeatedly opposed legislation that ould have extended the renewable production tax credit.

McCain's Tax Plan for Corporation, Small
Business and Innovation:

Corporate Tax Policies:

•End Tax Breaks for Companies That Ship Jobs Overseas. Would reverse the backwards incentive that allows companies to defer or avoid taxes entirely if they invest overseas while
requiring them to pay full and immediate taxes if they invest in America.

•New Tax Breaks for Companies That Create Jobs in America. For companies that expand or create jobs in America, Barack Obama would lower corporate tax rates with the savings attained from ending deferral.

•Voted to retain tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

•Nearly $200 billion in tax cuts to corporations, even if they do not invest in the US or create a single US job.

o $4bn for large oil companies
o $2bn for health insurance

Small Business Tax Policies:

•Eliminate Capital Gains for Small Businesses. Obama would cut capital gains taxes to 0% for investments in small businesses and start ups.

•A New Small Business Healthcare Tax Credit. Obama would provide a 50% health care tax credit to small businesses and lower health insurance costs by $2,500 per family for all firms.

•Would continue to tax capital gains for small businesses at 15%.

•Added Costs for Firms That Provide
Health Insurance. McCain would tax
employer contributions to employee health
insurance plans for the first time in history.

Innovation Tax Policies:

•Make Permanent the R&D Tax Credit. Will give firms a strong, consistent incentive to invest in new R&D jobs here in the United States.

•Expand the Renewable Production Tax Credit. Would extend the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for 5 years to encourage investment in renewable energy.

•Reduces the Effectiveness of the R&D Credit. Would reform the R&D credit into
flat 10% credit that would weaken the incentive for firms to invest in new research jobs, and could reward companies that are cutting research and moving jobs overseas.

•Opposes Energy Research Incentives. Has repeatedly opposed legislation that would have extended the renewable production tax credit.

Candidate Obama’s Idea of Fiscall Responsible Tax Policies

•A Net Tax Cut That Cuts Overall Taxes Below Reagan. Obama’s tax cuts for middle class families are larger than his tax changes for high-income families and closing of corporate loopholes, cutting taxes below 18.2 percent of the economy – the level that prevailed under
President Reagan.

•Tax Cuts Paid for by Spending Cuts – Reducing the Deficit. Obama would make tough choices like ending the war in Iraq responsibly, limiting payments to high-income farmers and Medicare
HMOs, and ending no-bid contracts.

•News Organizations Say Obama’s Plans Add Up – and Are More Fiscally Responsible than McCain’s. The Wall Street Journal said that Obama’s numbers added up. The New York Times
said Obama’s budget was at least $150 to $250 billion more responsible annually than McCain’s budget. The Boston Globe found that Obama has been clearer and politically braver in showing how he would pay for his proposals than Senator McCain.

Candidate McCain’s Idea of Fiscall Responsible Tax Policies:

•A Tax Plan That Cuts Taxes By $3.4 Trillion More than Bush Has Proposed. Nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has found that over ten years, McCain’s fiscally irresponsible tax cuts would reduce revenues by $3.4 trillion relative to the Bush tax cuts.

•Could Add $1 Trillion to Defense Spending. Would raise defense spending towards cold war levels, costing another $1 trillion over the next decade.

•New York Times Says McCain Plan Falls At Least $2 Trillion to $3 Trillion Short. The New York Times analyzed McCain’s budget numbers and found that they would add more than $200 billion to $300 billion annually to the deficit.

•Washington Post says that McCain plan to balance the budget by 2013 is not credible and won’t work. The Washington Post analyzed the McCain budget and found that the claimed savings
from his spending cuts were “illusory.”

Direct Impact of Obama and McCain Tax Plans:

Single Parent making $40,000 with two young children and childcare expenses:

OBAMA $2,100 [includes $500 making work pay; $500 universal mortgage credit, and $1,100 from Obama expansion of the child care tax credit]


Married Couple Making $75,000 with two children, one of whom is in college:

OBAMA $3,700 [includes $1,000 Making Work Pay; $500 universal mortgage credit; and $4,000 college credit net of current college credits]


Married Couple making $150,000:

OBAMA $1,000


70-Year Old Widow Making $35,000:

OBAMA $1,900




MCCAIN $1.2 billion

Source: Calculations based on IRS Statistics of Income. Does not include impact of health plans. Obama tax savings is conservative; does not account for up to $500 in savings from expanded Savers Credit.


Quoting a Wall Street Journal opinion piece:

"Sen. Obama believes a focus on the middle class is appropriate in the wake of the first economic expansion on record where the typical family's income fell by almost $1,000. The Obama plan would cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families with a tax cut of $500 for workers or $1,000 for working couples. In addition, Sen. Obama is proposing tax cuts for low- and middle-income seniors, homeowners, the uninsured, and families sending a child to college or looking to save and accumulate wealth..."

"In contrast, Sen. McCain's tax plan largely leaves the middle class behind. His one and only middle-class tax cut -- a slow phase-in of a bigger dependent exemption -- would provide no benefit whatsoever to 101 million families who do not have children or other dependents, or who have a low income.

But Sen. McCain's plan does include one new proposal that would result in higher taxes on the middle class. As even Sen. McCain's advisers have acknowledged, his health-care plan would impose a $3.6 trillion tax increase over 10 years on workers. Sen. McCain's plan will count the health care you get from your employer as if it were taxable cash income. Even after accounting for Sen. McCain's proposed health-care tax credits, this plan would eventually leave tens of millions of middle-class families paying higher taxes. In addition, as the Congressional Budget Office has shown, this kind of plan would push people into higher tax brackets and increase the taxes people pay as their compensation rises, raising marginal tax rates by even more than if we let the entire Bush tax-cut plan expire tomorrow.

The McCain plan represents Bush economics on steroids. It has $3.4 trillion more in tax cuts than President Bush is proposing, largely directed at corporations and the most affluent. Sen. McCain would implement these cuts without proposing any meaningful steps to simplify taxes or eliminate distortions and loopholes. In addition, Sen. McCain has floated over $1 trillion in new spending increases but barely any specific spending cuts."


Clearly, when it comes to the candidates' tax plans and the working and middle classes, there is just no comparison.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

GAO Study Reveals 2/3's of U.S. Corporations Pay ZERO Taxes

What GAO Found
United States Government Accountability Office
Why GAO Did This Study
Accountability IntegrityReliability
July 2008
Comparison of the Reported Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and U.S.-Controlled Corporations, 1998-2005
Highlights of GAO-08-957, a report to congressional requesters
Concerns about transfer pricing abuse have led researchers to compare the tax liabilities of foreign- and U.S.-controlled corporations. (Transfer prices are the prices related companies charge on intercompany transactions.) However, such comparisons are complicated because other factors may explain the differences in reported tax liabilities. In three prior reports, GAO found differences in the percentages of foreign-controlled and U.S.-controlled corporations reporting no tax liability.
GAO was asked to update the previous reports by comparing:
(1) the tax liabilities of foreign-controlled domestic corporations (FCDC) and U.S.-controlled corporations (USCC)–including those reporting zero tax liabilities for 1998 through 2005 (the latest available data) and (2) characteristics of FCDCs and USCCs such as age, size, and industry. GAO analyzed data from the Internal Revenue Service’s Statistics of Income samples of corporate tax returns.
GAO does not make any recommendations in this report. In commenting on a draft of this report, IRS provided comments on technical issues, which we incorporated into this report where appropriate.
FCDCs reported lower tax liabilities than USCCs by most measures shown in this report. A greater percentage of large FCDCs reported no tax liability in a given year from 1998 through 2005. For all corporations, a higher percentage of FCDCs reported no tax liabilities than USCCs through 2001 but differences after 2001 were not statistically significant. Most large FCDCs and USCCs that reported no tax liability in 2005 also reported that they had no current-year income. A smaller proportion of these corporations had losses from prior years and tax credits that eliminated any tax liability. By another measure, large FCDCs were more likely to report no tax liability over multiple years than large USCCs. In 2005, comparisons of FCDCs and USCCs based on ratios of reported tax liabilities to gross receipts or total assets showed that FCDCs reported less tax than USCCs.
FCDCs and USCCs differed in age, size, and industry. FCDCs were younger than USCCs in that a greater percentage had been incorporated for 3 years or less from 1998 through 2005. In 2005, FCDCs were larger on average than USCCs in that they reported higher average gross receipts and assets than USCCs. A comparison by industry in 2005 showed that large FCDCs were relatively more concentrated in manufacturing and wholesale trade, while large USCCs were more evenly distributed across industries. GAO did not attempt to determine the extent to which these factors and others, such as transfer pricing abuse, explain differences in tax liabilities.
Reprinted from GAO site: