Monthly Archives: June 2008

Huffington: McCain’s public financing flip-flop

Not only has John McCain flip-flopped on important policy issues, he’s flip-flopped on the one issue that he’s called out Barack Obama on: public financing.

In today’s Huffington Post column, Arianna Huffington looks at McCain’s abandonment of the public financing during the end of the Republican Primary in order to use his $56 million war chest to campaign directly against Barack Obama:

What’s actually disturbing is the Swift Boat Media’s complete indifference to McCain’s bald-faced hypocrisy on the same issue. Amidst all the attacks on Obama’s “flip-flop,” how much have you read in the MSM about the fact that McCain has “completely reversed himself” on public financing — and is currently breaking the law on a daily basis, making a mockery out of a campaign finance system he helped create?

In the fall of 2007, McCain opted into the public financing system for the GOP primaries, which meant he’d later receive just over $5 million in public funds in exchange for agreeing to a fundraising limit of around $54 million for the entire primary process, which ends when he accepts the nomination at the Republican National Convention in September.

By late November, his campaign was practically broke, so McCain took out a pair of $1 million loans, using the public funds he would receive as collateral.

Cut to Super Tuesday, when McCain had the Republican nomination all but wrapped up. Suddenly, he didn’t want to be bound by that $54 million limit, so his campaign did a 180 and opted back out of the public financing system.

But as David Mason, the Republican-appointed chair of the FEC, has pointed out, you can’t just unilaterally opt out — especially after securing a loan based on having opted in. The response of the McCain campaign is quite simply to ignore Mason. And because the FEC currently lacks a quorum (thanks to stalling tactics by that human roadblock to reform, Mitch McConnell) that’s where things stand, pending a ruling on a lawsuit filed by the DNC.

Here’s the AP story about the lawsuit. I won’t post any text because I don’t want to be charged.

So, at the end of the day, both Obama and McCain have “flip-flopped” on campaign finance, but the media has only decided to report about Obama’s decision.

My question is, how long will it be before John McCain opts out of public financing for the general election in order to “competitively spend with Obama.” I put the over-under at two months, or a 20-point polling differential.

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CNN: Oil companies not drilling in already leased offshore fields

While the debate about whether ending the federal ban on offshore oil drilling rages on, CNNMoney did this nice little bit of reporting:

Of the 90 million offshore acres the industry has leases to, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, it is estimated that upwards of 70 million are not producing oil, according to both Democrats and oil-industry sources.

and…

But the oil industry says it pays millions of dollars for these leases, and that it would not make sense to purposely leave the areas untapped.

Rather, years of exploration is required before drilling can even begin. In some cases, no oil is found on leases they hold. In others, drilling the wells and building the pipelines takes years. It is especially hard now that a worldwide boom in oil exploration has pushed up the prices – and timelines – for skilled workers and specialized equipment.

Wait a minute… haven’t Republicans basically said, “End the ban, lower gasoline prices”?

Something isn’t jiving here.

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Go Obama: The DREAM Act and McCain’s Biggest Flip-Flop

Arthur Mkoyan, a 17-year-old Fresno teen, came to the United States with his parents when they fled the Soviet Union 15 years ago. They sought asylum in the United States. It was never granted an. Two weeks ago, Mkyoan, a 4.0 Fresno high school valedictiorian was scheduled to be deported. He was an illegal immigrant although he hadn’t seen his “home” country of Armenia since he was 2.

Wouldn’t it be better for the United States if a kid like Mkoyan was able to stay here, enroll in a university and then become a citizen than to just kick him out of the country? Doesn’t the United States need overachievers and people who will work hard just to get ahead?

This is what Sac Bee columnist Peter Schrag wrote:

Mkoyan is one of the emblems – there are thousands of others – of a self-defeating immigration policy that prefers to deport talented young people at a time when the nation faces a desperate need of skilled workers to replace the millions of baby boomers who are about to retire.

This is why Congress should have passed the DREAM Act in 2007.

The DREAM Act is aimed at giving citizenship to the following (taken from Wikipedia):

  • Proof of having arrived in the United States at age 15 or younger.
  • Proof of residence in the United States for a least five (5) consecutive years since their date of arrival.
  • Must be between the ages of 12 and 30 at time of bill enactment.
  • Having graduated from an American high school, or obtained a GED.
  • “Good moral character,” essentially defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any major drug charges), compliance with Selective Service laws and an absence of fraudulent information in documents.

These students would then have the opportunity to apply for citizenship after completing several educational goals.

On a personal note, one of my brightest students came up to me and confessed that she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to get into a university because of this exact issue. She’s the type of student that would help this country in the future. And she might be right about her situation. She works harder than any of my so-called “legal” students.

On to the campaign.

The funny thing is that we don’t hear anything about McCain flip-flopping on this issue when, in fact, it’s probably the biggest flip-flop in presidential campaign history.

McCain co-sponsored three versions of the DREAM Act. Then he decided that he wanted to run for president. Suddenly, he opposed this piece of legislation because there would be no way for him to earn the Republican nomination if he supported a bill that helped undocumented immigrants. So McCain fled Washington and didn’t vote to end cloture on the bill when it was caught up in a filibuster.

McCain said he knows that Republicans are more concerned about border security:

“I will secure the borders before we do anything else,” McCain said. “The borders have to be secured. I got the message. Got it.”

That sounds like a “say anything, do anything to get elected” attitude, right?

Guess who was another co-sponsor of the DREAM Act. That’s right, Barack Obama. This is what he said when it failed to make it to the Senate floor for a vote:

We need comprehensive immigration reform in this country – reform that promotes our national and economic security and creates a pathway to earned citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country. We should not punish undocumented children who were brought to this country illegally through no choice of their own by keeping them in the shadows. The DREAM Act would have given these young people the opportunity to earn a degree or serve in our military, and eventually become legalized citizens. Failing to pass the DREAM Act only compounds the immigration crisis by continuing to drive thousands of young people every year into hiding.

And guess who still supports the DREAM Act. Right, Barack Obama. Here’s Obama talking about it during a debate (at 3:40):

I know all the conservative arguments why undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to enroll into American colleges. I think they are too lame to repeat here. All I want to say is that for the party that claims to support Christian values, it’s really missing the mark on one of Christ’s most important teachings:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,/and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats./He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left./Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world./For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,/naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’/Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?/When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?/When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’/And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

But of course, the conservative party doesn’t support these Christian values. Obama’s support of the DREAM Act is one of the main reasons I’ll be voting for him come November.

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Friedman: W is “Addict-in-Chief”

The brilliant Thomas Friedman wrote this today in The New York Times:

Actually, it’s more sophisticated than that: Get Saudi Arabia, our chief oil pusher, to up our dosage for a little while and bring down the oil price just enough so the renewable energy alternatives can’t totally take off. Then try to strong arm Congress into lifting the ban on drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: “C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe. I promise, next year, we’ll all go straight. I’ll even put a wind turbine on my presidential library. But for now, give me one more pop from that drill, please, baby. Just one more transfusion of that sweet offshore crude.”

It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is.

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RepublicLies: “Drilling will lower gas prices”

Earlier this week John McCain made a speech in which he called for ending the 27-year-old federal ban on offshore oil drilling. McCain said lifting the ban would allow for the production for more oil and would thus reduce gas prices.

Before looking at what McCain said, let it be known that the Republican candidate had, about a month before his recent speech, said he didn’t think offshore drilling would help gas prices. That’s what they call in politics, a flip-flop. Uh-oh.

Now onto his speech. McCain said:

“And with gasoline running at more than $4 a barrel … a gallon … I wish … $4 a gallon, many do not have the luxury of waiting on the far-off plans of futurists and politicians. We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use.”

Let’s examine the lies in those statements.

McCain implied that increased drilling would somehow lower gas prices at the pump. This is a bold-faced lie. Oil and gas pricing is not that simple.

But let’s look at the math. Supposedly there are 18 billion barrels of untapped oil along our coasts. Seems like a lot, right? Let’s not forget that oil is a global commodity. This means that what is produced in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily stay in the U.S. It is traded on an international market. So, let’s look at those 18 billion barrels and see how they would impact the world market:

In 2006, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the world consumes 83.6 million barrels a day. That means that the U.S. could supply the world with oil for 215 days. Not much of an impact if you ask me.

If we decided to drop out of the international oil market, the offshore drilling could supply the US with oil for 860 or so days. So what happens when the oil runs out in three years?

This isn’t mentioning that there would be no drilling off the coast of California.

Wait, I haven’t even arrived at the kicker. If the U.S. did end the ban on offshore drilling, the oil wouldn’t be ready for production for 10 years.

Richard Carter, with the Defenders of Wildlife, argues that any new drilling would take at least 10 years to pump, and then only knock a couple cents off pump prices.

Also, instead of supporting the increase of oil production, here’s an idea for the next 10 years on how to lower gas prices and better the lives of consumers:

1. Subsidize Detroit auto makers in creating electric cars. Side effect: this also creates more jobs.

2. Give SUV drivers extra cash for trading in their gas guzzlers for more fuel efficient vehicles.

3. Support windmill production to help supplement oil- and coal-fueled power plants.

4. Give major rebates to homeowners who want to install photovoltaic cells to power their houses.

Although McCain’s plan wouldn’t help consumers, it would help one constituency: oil companies.

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