Barack Obama is promising a $150bn "Apollo project" to bring jobs and energy security to the US through a new alternative energy economy, if his final push for votes brings victory in the presidential election on Tuesday.
"That's going to be my number one priority when I get into office," Mr Obama has said of his "green recovery" plans. Making his arguments in a radio address yesterday, the Democratic favourite promised: "If you give me your vote on Tuesday, we won't just win this election. Together, we will change this country and change the world."
The election has come during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, but he declared: "We'll invest $15bn a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating five million new green jobs that pay well, can't be outsourced and help end our dependence on foreign oil." The appeal of the idea that clean energy could help to kick-start the economy is such that Mr Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain, has also promised "millions" of green jobs if he wins.
That was looking less likely yesterday, despite Republican strategists predicting a historic upset victory as they pointed to polls showing Mr Obama's lead narrowing in "must-win" states such as Ohio. Despite the growing confidence of the Obama campaign, Mr McCain's forces are now engaged in a massive final effort, making 17 million phone calls or door knocks at the homes of carefully targeted voters in the dying hours of the election.
Mr McCain's final blitz will see him make stops in seven states tomorrow. As he told a small crowd of voters at the weekend: "The pundits, my friends, have written us off as they've done before. But we're closing... and we're going to win Ohio." A major handicap he faces, however, is a surge in early voting by Democrats – a reversal of the pattern that delivered George Bush his 2004 victory. In Florida alone, 200,000 more Democrats have already voted than Republicans, and a high turnout – predictions are that 130 million Americans will vote, the largest number since 1960 – is thought to favour Mr Obama.
In the mayhem of the election campaign, Mr Obama has yet to deliver a major speech about his renewable energy plans. But he has pledged to create five million new "green collar jobs", largely by greatly expanding the use of renewable energy, which should supply a tenth of America's electricity within four years, insulating a million homes a year and to put a million rechargeable "plug-in hybrid cars" on the road by 2015.
He also wants the US motor industry to take a lead in producing environmentally friendly vehicles rather than 4x4s. He promises to invest in clean engine technology, to increase America's hitherto lax car fuel economy standards by 4 per cent a year, and to boost sales of green cars by giving a $7,000 tax credit to people who buy them. And he has pledged to convert the White House fleet to plug-in hybrids within a year of taking office.
There is growing acceptance from economists in the US that a Green "New Deal" should be a fundamental part of the solution to the financial crisis and to America's long-term security concerns.
At the same time, British ministers are planning a huge increase in environmentally friendly investment as a central part of its economic rescue plan. Japan's Prime Minister, Taro Aso, has called the green economy "a great opportunity for new growth". And plans are being laid in the Australian treasury for a 3,000 per cent growth in green jobs over the next decades.
But it is the American plans that could have the greatest effect in dragging the world economy out of crisis. Mr Obama believes that a new clean-energy economy "can be the engine that drives us into the future in the same way the computer was the engine for economic growth over the last couple of decades".
The head of Mr Obama's transition team, John Podesta, has called for "a new vision for the economic revitalisation of the nation and a restoration of America's leadership in the world", adding: "We must seize this precious opportunity to mobilise the country and the international community towards a brighter and more prosperous future."
I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.
She is enormously popular; in every way she's like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".
It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.
She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.
She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.
She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.
Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin's kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.
Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.
Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative". During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked?or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn't even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported b onds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.
While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.
These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.
As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.
In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.
She's not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren't generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren't evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.
Sarah complained about the "old boy's club" when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys".Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State's top cop (see below).
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla's Police Chief because he "intimidated" her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.
She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn't like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.
Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.
When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the "old boys' club" when she dramatically quit, exposing this man's ethics violations (for which he was fined).
As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.
As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as "anti-pork".
She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.
Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.
As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as "AGIA" that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.
Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned "as a private citizen" against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State's lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior's decision to list polar bears as threatened species.
McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.
There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.
However, there's a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.
CLAIM VS FACT •"Hockey mom": true for a few years •"PTA mom": true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since •"NRA supporter": absolutely true •social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional). &bullro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it. •"Pro-life": mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation •"Experienced": Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000. &bullolitical maverick: not at all •gutsy: absolutely! •open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions. •has a developed philosophy of public policy: no •"a Greenie": no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR. •fiscal conservative: not by my definition! &bullro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system.Built streets to early 20th century standards. &bullro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents &bullro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla's history. &bullro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn't make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.
WHY AM I WRITING THIS?
First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.
Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.
Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that's life.
Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.
Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.
CAVEATS I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.
You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin's selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90's.
Anne Kilkenny firstname.lastname@example.org August 31, 2008
Not only is this a strait forward open letter to Sarah Palin, but included at the end is the facts on WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND ON THE ISSUES.No one can claim ignorance. This is about facts, truth and lies.
I am a 35 year old working, middle class mother of five living in So. California. I have been a Republican since my great ancestor Richard Stockton, signed the Declaration of Independence. I am an ex-police officer, and now I own my own business. This is the first time I changed my party. I am voting for Obama and Biden. I saw Sarah Palin’s speech last night. I have watched both conventions closely. I have studied on the issues. I have read articles on major news networks, and blogs. I have listened to NPR, radio talk shows, and television shows. This election, I am making the right choice.
My family got hit with the economy’s upward spiral of surging gas prices, and we have no health care. We have felt it at the grocery store. We now shop at the 99 cents store. We have lost one of our vehicles, on the verge of losing our home and are three months behind an astonishing amount of debt that we once was able to afford.
This election, I am taking my life back, I am taking my country back. I have heard the arguments on both sides. I know Obama’s back story, I know McCain’s back story, and I got to know Biden’s. Now it was Sarah Palin’s turn. As I watched last night, I was waiting just like the rest of us to see what she was going to say. Now I was going to get to know her. The fact that she has five children (weather or not the fifth baby is hers or not), and she has this unbelievably fortunate position of running for Vice President, I cannot help but to root for her.
I know how hard it is to raise five children. I have a 16 year old, 15 year old, 12 year old, 4 year old, and 2 year old. I know how hard it is to juggle between working and raising my children. I have tried the stay at home route, especially when the children were months old-but always had to go back to work to have the extra income. I chose to own my own business, because that was the only way I can make enough to meet the high cost of a family of seven.
I want to see a woman in office. I want to see a mother of five showing America, “it can be done”. Of course I have concerns about how the children will manage without their mother. I know that a baby with Down Syndrome will take a lot of time, love and patience that as Vice President there will be no way it will be physically possible for her to be there the amount of time needed. So essentially, her husband will take on that role, or her family. As any mother, you cannot help to have your attention focused on your kids, your family-even while you work.
It doesn’t mean you cannot perform excellently. It does not mean that a mother cannot make powerful decisions, and be completely reliable and competent. I was a single mother with three children and a police officer. It can be done.
where I dispel the notion that just because you are a mom you can’t reach for your dreams. That you can’t have it all. I talk about everything from paintings to
filming two movies pregnant as a co producer one here in the states and another in Cuba. I talk about how I continue to make films, and I continue to pursue my physical fitness, continue to educate myself and live a life for myself and my children. My four daughters and one son see that I make it happen.
So, when I saw Sarah Palin on the ticket, I thought ‘wow, this is validating’. I loved the fact she was a mother of five, and worried at the same time. This is a huge country. This is not Alaska, population 9,000. I cannot, we cannot, afford another four years and I am scared to death to let a Republican in the White House, but Sarah-she might be the one to make a difference.
So she gets on stage, and she looks great. Then she starts to talk. I waited for her to talk about her family. But, all she did was talk about how many kids she has, and the fact she has a special needs baby. She talked about her husband, and what a normal guy he was. She talked about being a pit bull hockey mom. But, I was still waiting. I remember listening Michelle Obama’s speech. Talk about her family, her roots, her beliefs, her parents, and grandparents. I got to know Michelle Obama that night.
Half way thru Sarah’s speech, she starts to lie, blatantly. Like really aggressive lying about Obama. The way she spoke about him, making fun of community service (wow), and that he has ‘devoted followers’, the stage he stood on, him trying to save the planet (like a world leader), how she twisted the words of things he said about running his campaign, etc and on and on. She said we have no idea where Obama stands on anything, um…anyone who has a computer can just Google it for Godssakes. My jaw dropped. I thought she would take the higher road. I thought I was going to hear about who she is, but she talked about Obama, Obama, Obama. On and on she went, it got uglier and uglier and she got uglier and uglier.
Oh, no. I thought. This is more of the same. She fed the hate mongers in the crowd raw hate. They gobbled it up. Where was the speech about what type of person she was, her belief system, her values her promises to our country? She seemed completely inauthentic, and smug. ‘Shrill’ is how one person put it.
I want to rally on the side of a working mother of five. I want to have compassion for her teen daughter’s pregnancy. I do. But, the Right wing conservatives have been such a proponent against that. Wasn’t also Sarah’s stance also against it? Now, what? They are covering for one of their own?
Due to the fact that there is rarely any specific information on where the candidates stand, I put this together referencing from a non biased site. I did not put all of it here, due to reading time and space. But, the major topics I did put. I was surprised to find how little information on where Sarah Palin stands on issues, and on some (like immigration) there was just nothing. Obama’s in comparison was very lengthy. There is no excuses as to where the candidates stand on the issues. Here it is in black and white.
A List of all four tickets stance on the issues.
Expand access to contraception; reduce unintended pregnancy: Favors topic 1
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