and consistent with Environmental Extremist Group Demands, 'For the Benefit of Humankind', Via Imposition of National CO2 Emissions Caps, Other Environmental Regulations That Indirectly 'Take' Private Property For 'Public Use' Without Payment of 'Just Compensation', and Indirect and Direct Taxation on Energy Use and Carbon Intensity - (.e., the degree to which Products & Services Incorporate Fossil Fuels in their Manufacture & Processing), all of which will result in Significant Cost Increases for US businesses and individuals.
EU 'holds firm' on climate goals
October 16, 2008
EU leaders will maintain their targets and timetable for tackling climate change, despite objections from some nations, the French president has said.
Sarkozy on climate change target
EU leaders will maintain their targets and timetable for tackling climate change, despite objections from some nations, the French president has said.
At a summit in Brussels, Nicolas Sarkozy said "solutions" would be found for those that had expressed concerns.
Some countries have threatened to block a deal agreed last year for EU-wide cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, citing the economic slowdown.
The split over climate change contrasts with EU unity over the banking crisis.
The financial crisis has prompted some countries such as Poland and Italy to argue that they cannot afford to enforce tough emissions targets on their industrial sector.
For those who want the European Union to walk with power and purpose on the world stage this summit is both triumph and tragedy BBC's Mark Mardell in his blog
Mr Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, said: "The climate package is so important that we cannot simply drop it, under the pretext of a financial crisis."
Speaking at the close of the meeting, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said "we are not going to let up on the battle against climate change."
Last year, EU leaders vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, and to derive 20% of energy from renewable sources.
However, the BBC's Oana Lungescu, in Brussels, says a finalised agreement by December looks like a tall order, amid darkening prospects for Europe's economy.
Europe has moved fast to tackle the financial crisis but it is only starting to count the cost for jobs and economic growth, our correspondent says.
The French president said EU nations should consider a co-ordinated rescue plan to tackle the broader economic crisis as with the financial crisis.
All 27 EU states broadly support a bank rescue plan proposed for the bloc and the holding of a summit on world financial reform, Mr Sarkozy said.
It is now for President Barroso and myself to find solutions for those countries which have expressed concerns Nicolas Sarkozy French president
Eurozone leaders have agreed on a comprehensive package designed to shore up banks, including making more than a 1,000bn euros ($1,366bn) available for interbank loans.
Mr Sarkozy said the EU wanted to launch "a new Bretton Woods summit" in November, referring to the 1944 meeting which led to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and other global institutions.
Other members of the group of eight industrialised nations (G8) have also signed up to the summit.
With a recession looming, some Eastern and central European countries are unhappy at the burden of cuts they will be expected to bear under the existing climate agreement.
They argue that a legacy of inefficient and coal-dependent industry, dating from the Soviet era, has made it much harder for them to achieve big emissions cuts.
Mr Sarkozy said he was pushing hard for an agreement on climate change and energy action by the end of the year.
"On the climate package, we have obtained unanimity... It is now for President Barroso and myself to find solutions for those countries which have expressed concerns," Mr Sarkozy said.
In other summit business, talks on a new EU-Russia partnership treaty were postponed, amid continuing concern about Russia's military presence in Georgia. There were divisions about when to resume them.
A decision to revive the failed Lisbon treaty, meant to give the EU more stable institutions in difficult times, is expected to be put on the back-burner until December.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen promised to come up with an action plan by then on the best way to move ahead next year.
EU leaders will maintain their targets and timetable for tackling climate change, despite objections from some nations, the French president has said.
Call to maintain climate targets
By Roger Harrabin
BBC Environment Analyst
October 10, 2008
Ed Miliband, the new energy and climate secretary, has urged Europe's leaders to withstand recession fears and maintain climate change ambitions.
It was still possible to cut greenhouse gases in Europe 20% by 2020, he said.
Mr Miliband also argued EU targets would also help the economy by creating new jobs in clean technology.
[BUT WHO WILL PAY FOR THIS?? EUROPEAN TAXPAYERS??]
There were huge gains to be made through efficiency measures which would improve energy security without needing to increase energy imports, he added.
This case is also being made strongly by the French presidency.
Mr Miliband is attending the EU council of energy ministers, a meeting which will set the tone for next week's EU summit, where there will be multiple pressures to water down the climate package in response to the recession.
The energy and climate secretary will propose an element of watering down himself, suggesting aviation should be withdrawn from the EU's targets to increase renewable energy sources in all sectors by 20% by 2020.
He thinks this is irrational because the only existing source of alternative fuel for planes is biofuel, which is itself increasingly blamed for environmental destruction.
[WHAT ABOUT COAL -TO - LIQUIDS FOR JET FUEL??? OOPS, WE CAN'T SPEAK OF PROMOTING ENERGY SECURITY WHEN DISCUSSING CLIMATE CHANGE!]
Otherwise, he argues, the climate package should stand.
"We need to stick to our climate change targets, to stick to our targets on renewables. We also need to show we can tackle climate change in a way that is fair and affordable for ordinary families," he said.
Mr Miliband said he would be continuing the UK's bid for a reduction in VAT on energy-saving goods, a suggestion treated with scepticism by the Germans until now.
He also stressed that climate change policy had to be seen as an opportunity.
"What people are increasingly realising is that energy affordability and climate change come together. If we can find ways of saving energy it cuts their bills but it also contributes to [cutting] our carbon emissions," he said.
The crunch will come next week when Poland and other east European nations will press for the continuation of free allocations of carbon permits for their power sector. Germany and Italy will argue that export sectors should also be handed out free permits.
Both would drive down the cost of carbon permits in the EU emissions trading system and therefore reduce the impetus for industry to make energy efficiencies.
There is cynicism among environmentalists about the bid from the power firms to be given free permits.
Power firms across the EU are believed to have gained a windfall worth tens of billions of pounds because they have increased their prices to consumers as if they had to buy permits in the EU trading scheme even though they have been receiving the permits free of charge.
Another proposal lodged with the commission would allow some EU sectors, such as transport, to trade away 65% of their carbon targets by buying carbon permits from developing countries.
Environmentalists also warn the EU's claims to lead the world in a new global climate deal next year may be crumbling in the face of the recession.
This fear was raised earlier this week by the economist Lord Stern, author of the Stern Review on climate change.
He said climate should be seen in the same way as the credit crunch, which could have been averted if people had put the right measures in places 10-15 years ago.
Obama to Declare Carbon Dioxide Dangerous Pollutant (Update1)
[TREATING CARBON-BASED FUELS AS HAZARDOUS MATERIAL WILL STIGMATIZE SUBSTANTIAL SEGMENTS OF THE U.S. ECONOMY AND KILL ANY CHANCE FOR A U.S. ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN THE SHORT-TO-MEDIUM TERM!!]
By Jim Efstathiou Jr.
October 16, 2008
Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama will classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated should he win the presidential election on Nov. 4, opening the way for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions.
The Democratic senator from Illinois will tell the Environmental Protection Agency that it may use the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers, his energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said in an interview. President George W. Bush declined to curb CO2 emissions under the law even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the government may do so.
If elected, Obama would be the first president to group emissions blamed for global warming into a category of pollutants that includes lead and carbon monoxide. Obama's rival in the presidential race, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, has not said how he would treat CO2 under the act.
Obama ``would initiate those rulemakings,'' Grumet said in an Oct. 6 interview in Boston. ``He's not going to insert political judgments to interrupt the recommendations of the scientific efforts.''
Placing heat-trapping pollutants in the same category as ozone may lead to caps on power-plant emissions and force utilities to use the most expensive systems to curb pollution. The move may halt construction plans on as many as half of the 130 proposed new U.S. coal plants.
The president may take action on new rules immediately upon taking office, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club. Environment groups including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council will issue a regulatory agenda for the next president that calls for limits on CO2 from industry.
[IN THE EVENT THIS COMES TO PASS, U.S. TAXPAYERS - LARGE CORPORATIONS, SMALL & MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES and INDIVIDUAL LANDOWNERS - COULD VERY WELL RESORT TO THE FILING OF LAWSUITS CHALLENGING PROPOSED AND FINAL FEDERAL AGENCY RULINGS ON MULTIPLE CONSTITUTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE GROUNDS, AS WELL AS, LAWSUITS CHALLENGING THE ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN BY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS THAT TORTIOUSLY INTERFERE WITH, DISRUPT OR OTHERWISE INTERRUPT ONGOING BUSINESS CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIPS AND OPERATIONS.]
`Hit Ground Running'
``This is what they should do to hit the ground running,'' Bookbinder said in an Oct. 10 telephone interview.
Separately, Congress is debating legislation to create an emissions market to address global warming, a solution endorsed by both candidates and utilities such as American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of electricity from coal. Congress failed to pass a global-warming bill in June and how long it may take lawmakers to agree on a plan isn't known.
[AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO. & OTHER U.S. CORPORATIONS THAT ENDORSE SUCH LEGISLATION ARE MERELY SEEKING PROTECTIONISM FROM COMPETITION AND COMPENSATION (SUBSIDIZATION) FOR THE SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER COSTS OF REGULATORY COMPLIANCE THAT THEY WOULD BE FACING AS THE RESULT OF SUCH RULES. THESE COSTS WOULD BE SOMEWHAT DEFRAYED IF THE COMPANIES COULD USE 'EMISSIONS CREDIT OFFSETS' THAT THEY HAD 'BANKED' UNDER THE CURRENT VOLUNTARY CO2 EMISSIONS PROGRAM ESTABLISHED BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION BACK DURING 2001 OR 2002.]
``We need federal legislation to deal with greenhouse-gas emissions,'' said Vicki Arroyo, general counsel for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Arlington, Virginia. ``In the meantime, there is this vacuum. People are eager to get started on this.''
[THE PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE IS HARDLY AN OBJECTIVE SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT MATTER. RATHER, IT CLEARLY HAS A PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL ELITIST ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA THAT PRIORITIZES PUBLIC ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS OVER EXCLUSIVE PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS.]
An Obama victory would help clear the deadlock in talks on an international agreement to slow global warming, Rajendra Pachauri, head of a United Nation panel of climate-change scientists, said today in Berlin. Negotiators from almost 200 countries will meet in December in Poznan, Poland, to discuss ways to limit CO2.
[THE ABSURDITY OF DR. PACHAURI'S STATEMENTS, THE REPORT'S LACK OF SCIENTIFIC CREDIBILITY and THE POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING UNDERTAKEN BY THE GOOD PROFESSOR & HIS POLITICALLY CORRECT SCIENTIFIC COLLEAGUES IS AS PLAIN AS DAY, AND IT REFLECTS A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR GLOBAL SOCIALISM. As concerns its absurdity, see: Al Gore's Call for Climate Change Disobedience, UK Court's Climate Change Ruling and Lewis Gordon Pugh's North Pole Kayaking 'Do Monty Python Proud'!, ITSSD Journal on Economic Sabotage, at: http://itssdjournaleconomicsabotage.blogspot.com/2008/09/al-gores-call-for-climate-change.html .
`Back in the Game'
``The U.S. has to move quickly domestically so we can get back in the game internationally,'' Grumet said. ``We cannot have a meaningful impact in the international discussion until we develop a meaningful domestic consensus. So he'll move quickly.''
[SOMEONE SHOULD INFORM THE 'ENLIGHTENED' MR. GRUMET THAT THERE IS NO DOMESTIC CONSENSUS ON THIS ISSUE. ERGO, THERE CAN BE NO INTERNATIONAL CONSENSUS ON THIS ISSUE, DESPITE WHAT THE ENVIRONMENTALISTAS SAY AND PRAY FOR IN THE MEDIA.]
Burning coal to generate electricity produces more than a third of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and half the U.S. power supply, according to the Energy Department. Every hour, fossil-fuel combustion generates 3.5 million tons of emissions worldwide, helping create a warming effect that ``already threatens our climate,'' the Paris-based International Energy Agency said.
[BURNING COAL GENERATES APPROXIMATELY 40-50% OF ALL ELECTRICITY IN THE U.S., IS PERHAPS THE MOST PLENTIFUL AND LEAST COSTLY U.S. NATURAL ENERGY RESOURCE. MAINTAINING PLENTIFUL, LOST COST ENERGY SHOULD BE A NATIONAL PRIORITY ESPECIALLY IN A SEVERE DOWN ECONOMIC CYCLE. WHEN COMBINED WITH NEWLY DEVELOPED AND EMERGING CLEAN COAL TECHNOLOGY THE MINING, EXTRACTION AND REFINEMENT OF COAL INTO LIQUID OR GASIFIED FORMS OF ENERGY IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY IF THE U.S. IS TO BOTH RETAIN AND CREATE NEW JOBS AS WELL AS ACHIEVE ENERGY SECURITY.]
[See, e.g., Paul Dreissen, The social responsibility of coal - Relying more on coal generates benefits that are too often ignored, Canadian Free Press (Sept. 3, 2008), reproduced in ITSSD Journal on Energy Security, at: http://itssdenergysecurity.blogspot.com/2008/09/social-responsibility-of-coal.html ].
[NEITHER OBAMA NOR GRUMET WILL PUBLICLY ADMIT THAT THEIR DECISION TO 'PICK WINNERS' IN THE MARKET - i.e., WINDPOWER & SOLAR POWER - WILL COME WITH EXTREME MONETARY & JOBS AND SKILLS COSTS, SINCE THE MAJORITY OF THE COMPONENTS COMPRISING WINDMILLS AND SOLAR PANELS ARE MANUFACTURED OUTSIDE THE U.S. IN OTHER WORDS, THE OBAMA ENERGY PLAN WHICH TOUTS THE CREATION OF '5 MILLION GREEN COLLAR JOBS', WILL ACTUALLY RESULT IN THE OFFSHORING OF WHAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE U.S. ENERGY PRODUCTION/MANUFACTURING JOBS TO CHINA and EASTERN EUROPE. FURTHERMORE, DUE TO THE EXTREME MANUFACTURING SHORTAGE AND BACKLOG OF SUCH COMPONENTS AND THE OBAMA ENERGY PLAN'S FOCUS ON CENTRALIZED ENERGY GENERATION RATHER THAN DECENTRALIZED/INDEPENDENT 'OFF-GRID' WIND AND SOLAR SYSTEMS, THE DEPLOYMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES WILL NOT RESULT IN ANY NOTICEABLE IMPROVEMENT IN AFFORDABLE U.S. ENERGY & NATIONAL ENERGY INDEPENDENCE FOR SOME TIME, WHILE
TRIGGERING SIGNIFICANT UPFRONT INCREASES IN ENERGY COSTS FOR U.S. CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES. SO MUCH FOR IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR AVERAGE AMERICANS!]
The EPA under Bush fought the notion that the Clean Air Act applies to CO2 all the way to the Supreme Court. The law has been used successfully to regulate six pollutants, including sulfur dioxide and ozone. Regulation under the act ``could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority,'' EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said in July. The law ``is the wrong tool for the job.''
Proponents of regulation are hoping for better results under a new president. Obama adviser Grumet, executive director of the National Commission on Energy Policy, said if Congress hasn't acted in 18 months, about the time it would take to draft rules, the president should.
``The EPA is obligated to move forward in the absence of Congressional action,'' Grumet said. ``If there's no action by Congress in those 18 months, I think any responsible president would want to have the regulatory approach.''
States where coal-fired plants may be affected include Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia and Florida.
[IN EACH OF THESE STATES, UNDER AN OBAMA ENERGY PLAN, CONSUMER AND BUSINESS ENERGY COSTS WILL RISE SIGNIFICANTLY AND BE PASSED ON DOWN TO OTHER INDUSTRIES THAT CONSUME ENERGY WHICH, IN TURN, WILL RAISE GOODS & SERVICES PRICES. IN OTHER WORDS, THE RESULTING INCREASED ENERGY COSTS WILL TRICKLE THROUGHOUT THE ECONOMY OF EACH SUCH STATE AND REGION.]
The alternative, a national cap-and-trade program created by Congress, offers industry more options, said Bruce Braine, a vice president at Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric. The world's largest cap-and-trade plan for greenhouse gases opened in Europe in 2005.
[DEAR MR. BRAINE, YOU ARE MERELY COVERING YOUR POLITICAL BACKSIDE WITH SUCH A STATEMENT & AGENDA. WHY DON'T YOU TELL THE RATEPAYERS THAT YOUR COMPANY AND ITS AFFILIATES WILL DIRECTLY RAISE THEIR ENERGY COSTS AND INDIRECTLY RAISE THE COST OF GOODS & SERVICES - THEIR COST OF LIVING - i.e., THE TRUTH!! - UNDER OBAMA'S NONTRANSPARENT CLIMATE CHANGE 'CAP & TRADE' SYSTEM, WITH WHICH THE EUROPEANS ARE ALREADY ENAMORED?]
Under a cap-and-trade program, polluters may keep less- efficient plants running if they offset those emissions with investments in projects that lower pollution, such as wind-energy turbines or systems that destroy methane gas from landfills.
McCain `Not a Fan'
``Those options may still allow me to build new efficient power plants that might not meet a higher standard,'' Braine said in an Oct. 9 interview. ``That might be a more cost-effective way to approach it.''
McCain hasn't said how he would approach CO2 regulation under the Clean Air Act. McCain adviser and former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey said Oct. 6 that new rules may conflict with Congressional efforts. Policy adviser Rebecca Jensen Tallent said in August that McCain prefers a bill debated by Congress rather than regulations ``established through one agency where one secretary is getting to make a lot of decisions.''
``He is not as big of a fan of standards-based approaches,'' Arroyo said. ``The Supreme Court thinks it's clear that there is greenhouse-gas authority under the Clean Air Act. To take that off the table probably wouldn't be very wise.''
More Efficient Technologies
How new regulations would affect the proposed U.S. coal plants depends on how they are written, said Bill Fang, climate issue director for the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington-based lobbying group for utilities. About half of the proposed plants plan to use technologies that are 20 percent more efficient than conventional coal burners.
[UNFORTUNATELY, Mr. FANG, 20 PERCENT IS NOT EFFICIENT ENOUGH IN THE EYES OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL EXTREMISTS TO WHOM OBAMA HAS LONG PANDERED.]
``Several states have denied the applicability of the Clean Air Act to coal permits,'' Fang said in an Oct. 10 interview.
In June, a court in Georgia stopped construction of the 1,200- megawatt Longleaf power plant, a $2 billion project, because developer Dynegy Inc. failed to consider cleaner technology.
An appeals board within the EPA is considering a challenge from the Sierra Club to Deseret Power Electric Cooperative's air permit for its 110-megawatt Bonanza coal plant in Utah on grounds that it failed to require controls on CO2. One megawatt is enough to power about 800 typical U.S. homes.
``Industry has woken up to the fact that a new progressive administration could move quickly to make the United States a leader rather than a laggard,'' said Bruce Nilles, director of the group's national coal campaign.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org Last Updated: October 16, 2008 09:50 EDT
Q&A: EU green energy
October 8, 2008
EU leaders are striving to keep the 27-nation bloc's green energy targets on track amid strains caused by global economic turmoil and fears about unfair competition.
The EU's post-Kyoto targets for cutting greenhouse gases and boosting use of renewables are meant to set an example for the rest of the world. A key part of the plan is the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
What are the main arguments for these targets?
Responding to the challenge of climate change is "the ultimate political test for our generation," according to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
Many regions of Europe are vulnerable to climate change impacts, the European Environment Agency says - especially mountainous areas, coastal zones, the Mediterranean and Arctic.
Climate specialists, including the EEA, say northern Europe is getting wetter and the south drier, Arctic summer sea ice is melting faster than expected, many plant and animal species are moving further north and uphill.
Soaring oil and gas prices have made Europe's reliance on imported fossil fuels much more costly - and provided a strong incentive for developing renewables.
The rising cost of energy has also prompted the European Commission to call for a 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020.
Yet the challenges are so great that the EU ought to have more ambitious targets, some environmentalists say.
Q. What is the ETS?
A. Launched in 2005, the ETS created a market in carbon emission permits, aimed at giving industry a commercial incentive to reduce greenhouse gases.
Power stations, refineries and other heavy polluters receive permits which can be traded. If an installation's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are higher than the number of permits it has, it must buy extra allowances from other installations which are lower CO2 emitters.
The ETS currently covers about 10,000 industrial plants across the EU, accounting for about 40% of the EU's total CO2 emissions. Each permit is equivalent to one tonne of CO2.
The success of the ETS is crucial to the EU achieving its goal of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. That goal will be extended to 30% if a new international agreement is reached.
Q. How will the ETS develop?
A. The EU is now planning for the period 2013-2020. The first phase of the ETS covered 2005-2007, the second phase 2008-2012. The second phase coincides with the Kyoto Protocol time scale. Under the Kyoto deal, the EU is required to cut its CO2 emissions by 8% from 1990 levels by 2012.
In the first and second phases, the ETS only covered CO2, whereas in phase three it will also include nitrous oxide and perfluorocarbons.
In phase three, there will be one EU-wide cap on the number of carbon permits, instead of the current system of national allowances for each member state.
The national allowances have been fiercely debated. Some new member states in Eastern Europe argue that their CO2 caps do not reflect the progress they made in cutting emissions by closing down communist-era industrial plants.
[WHAT PROGRESS?? THEY HAVE WORRIED MORE THAN THEY HAVE ACTED! See: EURObama's Ideal-ist Climate Change Policy, Like Europe's, is NOT 'Real' Change, But More of the Same!!, ITSSD Journal on Energy Security, at: http://itssdenergysecurity.blogspot.com/2008/09/eurobamas-ideal-ist-climate-change.html ].
The current ETS allocates firms a fixed number of free carbon permits. But from 2013, the European Commission says, the power sector will have to buy all its permits. The full auctioning of permits will be phased in gradually for other industrial sectors.
Aviation will be included in the ETS from 2012. Airlines will have to cut emissions by 3% in the first year, compared to 2005, and by 5% from 2013 onwards. The reason for including aviation is that while it accounts for only 3% of EU emissions, it is producing 87% more CO2 now than in 1990.
Q. Is the ETS working?
A. The cost of the ETS to European companies is a major concern as their rivals in the US, China, India and elsewhere do not yet face the same pressure to reduce CO2 emissions.
There are fears that, with the economic downturn forcing firms to cut costs, European jobs could be lost through "carbon leakage" - industry moving operations to ETS-free countries.
But EU leaders see the ETS as an effective tool for the rest of the world to adopt in the global drive to minimise the impact of climate change.
Changes to the ETS have been driven partly by complaints about windfall profits made by the big power companies.
In April 2008 the environment group WWF said the free carbon permit scheme allowed firms to pass on to consumers the cost of cutting emissions. A WWF report said German generators dependent on coal power could make 14bn-34bn euros (£11bn-£26bn) from the free handouts.
[AMERICANS SHOULD BE VERY CONCERNED THAT THE SAME GROUPS THAT THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION RELIES UPON FOR INFORMATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE AND OVERALL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ADVICE, WILL ALSO BE INFLUENTIAL IN HELPING OBAMA TO ESTABLISH U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY!]
The full auctioning of permits is expected to resolve that anomaly. In 2013-2020 the EU member states should be able to generate about 461bn euros from the ETS, according to Linda McAvan MEP, Labour Party spokeswoman on climate change. That revenue could be used to invest in carbon capture technology, renewable energy sources and help for developing countries to expand green energy.
Q. What is carbon capture?
A. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is still in the trial phase, but there are hopes that it can help meet the EU's emission targets.
A pilot project in Germany is the world's first coal-fired power plant to capture and store its own CO2 emissions.
MEPs agree that ETS revenue should be used to finance 12 commercially viable carbon capture plants across Europe, with plans for more in future.
Q. What about CO2 emissions not covered by the ETS?
A. Under the European Commission plan - which is not yet law - sectors not covered by the ETS will have to cut emissions by 10% below 2005 levels by 2020. The commission is proposing specific targets for each member state - some of the new members in Eastern Europe may actually increase their emissions.
Buildings, transport, agriculture and waste disposal are among the sectors covered. If they fail to meet the targets the member states concerned will face stiff penalties.
MEPs have backed a target of 120g of CO2 per kilometre for cars, to take effect from 2012. The current average is 160g/km. Carmakers had urged transitional measures for their industry until 2015. Cars account for about 12% of the EU's overall CO2 emissions.
Q. What are carbon offsets?
A. The Kyoto Protocol allows industrialised countries to generate emission credits through investment in emission reduction projects in developing countries. These "offsets" work through a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
Critics say some of these projects are dubious and allow firms to avoid seriously reducing their CO2 emissions at home.
The MEPs' environment committee has voted for tighter monitoring of CDMs and a cap on them - over the whole period 2013-2020 they should only account for up to 8% of member states' 2005 emissions.
Q. What role does the EU envisage for renewables?
A. EU leaders have backed the commission's binding target of 20% of the total energy mix - not just electricity - coming from renewable sources by 2020. The UK's target is 15% by 2020 - but the UK will have to achieve the biggest increase of any country because it is starting from a very low base.
Wind power already provides about 20% of electricity needs in Denmark and 8% in Spain, the commission says.
The EU is committed to 10% of transport fuels coming from biofuels - but only certified biofuels produced in a sustainable way. They must also produce at least 35% less CO2 than existing fuels.
There is widespread concern that the expansion of biofuel production in some countries has jeopardised food security and helped push up food prices. Critics also say that in some cases, the cost of biofuel production - including deforestation - means little or no CO2 emissions cut is achieved.
II. Obama on the Need for Social & Economic Parity ('Wealth Redistribution'), Rather Than Social, Economic & Technological Growth
Once upon a time and far, far away from mainstream America, lived a U.S. senator named Barack Obama. Mr. Obama had a gift, a truly wondrous gift. He could spin troublesome facts into political gold. And perhaps, with enough spinning, he could even spin himself into the White House.
-- Magic Fact No. 1: Senator Obama will cut income taxes "for 95 percent of working families, 95 percent."
So how do you give a tax cut to someone who doesn't pay income taxes? Mr. Obama proposes a massive program of "refundable tax credits." Those on the receiving end would simply get a check from the federal government. In other words, they would pay a "negative tax."
-- Magic Fact No. 2: Mr. Obama pays "for every dime" of his proposals.
How does Mr. Obama propose to pay for these new and expanded spending programs? He begins by squeezing defense spending. He would then repeal "the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans." (Never mind that the Bush tax cuts are already scheduled to expire and that the revenue is already included in the government's budget forecasts.) Finally, he would "close corporate loopholes, [and] stop providing tax cuts to corporations that are shipping jobs overseas."
These steps would not come close to paying for the senator's spending proposals. Assuming they offset $100 billion of new spending, paying for the other $265.6 billion (still ignoring the cost of Mr. Obama's other 88 programs) would require an across-the-board income tax increase of 19 percent. And, of course, this figure does not reflect the tax increase that would be necessary to pay for Mr. Obama's "tax cuts."
The IRS reported earlier this year that the top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers shouldered 60 percent of the federal income tax burden in 2006. If Mr. Obama insists upon having a tiny fraction of Americans shoulder the cost of his spending and tax proposals, the tax increase on those taxpayers would have to be huge - far larger than the 19 percent tax increase described above. This would slow investment, employment and economic growth - and, yes, total governmental receipts.
Sen. Hillary Clinton once threatened, "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." Perhaps she would have been Mr. Obama's ideal running mate after all.
The Obama campaign likes to say it has the support of professional economists. Yet, that "fact" is based on two, methodologically flawed polls circulating the Internet. True enough, majorities of those surveyed said they favor Mr. Obama's economic policies. What else would you expect from a poll where Democrat responders outnumbered Republicans by nearly 3-to-1? Only 17 percent of the surveyed economists were Republican. In the second poll, Democrats outnumbered Republicans nearly 5-to-1. Only 10 percent of the respondents were Republican. Meanwhile, more than 500 economists from across the country, including five Nobel Laureates, have signed a statement supporting Sen. John McCain's economic plan. (For the text of the statement and a complete list of the signatories, see http://www.economistsformccain.com/.)
The fairy tale candidate may yet become the fairy tale president. But will the story end with "and the American people lived happily ever after?"
James E. Carter, a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury from 2002 to 2006, is an economist with the U.S. Senate. James C. Miller III served as President Reagan's budget director from 1985 to 1988 and is now a senior adviser at Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP.
The Crisis Agenda
New York Times
October 7, 2008
As stocks cratered on Monday and lending and borrowing remained frozen, the Bush administration rushed to implement the $700 billion bailout enacted on Friday. The Treasury Department said that it would soon post help-wanted ads on its Web site for asset managers to run the program and that because of the urgency, the hiring may be “through other than full and open competition.”
Is it any wonder that the markets lack confidence? One business day after the bailout was enacted, and it already had a tilting-at-windmills quality.
That is why it is vital that Barack Obama and John McCain, one of whom will inherit a real mess, address the financial crisis in real detail at their debate Tuesday night.
The most immediate question is how the crisis will affect their plans and promises — because it will.
At the first presidential debate, on Sept. 26, Mr. Obama at least acknowledged that the crisis would force him to prioritize more carefully on government spending. But then he said “we can’t shortchange” energy independence, health care reform or investing in education and infrastructure. Pressed further, he said that within those broad categories, programs may have to be delayed or deferred but offered no details.
Mr. McCain brushed aside the crisis, saying that “no matter what” the nation has to cut federal spending and “examine every agency of government” — the same prescriptions he always offers.
Then Mr. McCain boasted about killing a $6.8 billion weapons contract, an act of no relevance to the financial crisis.
The big issue for each candidate is not spending, per se, but how the crisis will affect their promises on taxes. Mr. Obama has said that he would raise taxes on the wealthy, starting next year, to help restore fairness to the tax code and to pay for his spending plans. With the economy tanking, however, it’s hard to imagine how he could prudently do that. He should acknowledge the likelihood of having to postpone a tax increase and explain how that change will affect his plans. Then, he can promise to raise those taxes as soon as the economy allows.
Mr. McCain has an even tougher job. To be straight with voters, he would have to acknowledge that the centerpiece of his economic plan — to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts beyond their expiration in 2011 and to add billions of dollars of new tax breaks — is impossible. If he went ahead with those plans, the national debt would explode, undermining the borrowing that the nation must undertake to finance the bailouts.
We would like to hear the candidates tell Americans how they will stand up for homeowners. Mr. Obama supports amending the bankruptcy code so courts can modify troubled mortgages. Mr. McCain does not, clinging to the fiction that the mortgage industry will somehow, someday, voluntarily rework most of the junk loans.
Americans deserve to hear much more detail about how the candidates would reform the financial system to prevent another crisis like this one. Saying that they’re in favor of more and better regulation is not enough. Again, Mr. Obama has the edge over Mr. McCain, who until recently was a committed deregulator.
In particular, the candidates need to say what rules they would support to rein in derivatives, like the $62 trillion market in credit default swaps, the complex and unregulated financial bets that led to the bailouts of Bear Stearns and American International Group. Swaps were exempted from regulation in 2000 by legislation pushed through by then-Senator Phil Gramm, Mr. McCain’s economic guru. [BUT THIS LEGISLATION WAS APPROVED BY A NUMBER OF PROMINENT DEMOCRATIC SENATORS AS WELL]. Re-regulation of derivatives involves imposing vastly more transparency on derivative traders and investors, which they are sure to resist, and establishing exchanges or clearinghouses where regulators can monitor trading on an ongoing basis.
Substantive answers to the financial crisis are not the stuff of sound bites. It is time for the candidates to rise to the occasion.
Obama’s Tax-Plan Disaster - The candidate’s “soak the rich” tax rates will do widespread economic harm
By Cesar V. Conda
National Review Online
October 16, 2008
Here’s an unusual campaign promise: I pledge to take action as president to drive down stock prices, discourage investment, and deepen the recession. Who has promised this? Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, albeit not in so many words.
With the stock market in crisis mode and the economy in a pronounced slump, would any economist — even the most extreme liberal Keynesian — advocate increasing taxes? Of course not.
But contrary to economic commonsense, Obama is proposing to do exactly that by raising tax rates on America’s small businesses and investors.
Specifically, Obama wants to raise taxes on income, capital gains, and dividends for families earning more than $250,000 annually. Under his plan, the top two marginal tax rates will increase from 33 to 36 percent and from 35 to 39.6 percent, while both the capital-gains tax and dividend tax will rise from 15 to 20 percent. According to the plan, the extra revenues generated by these tax increases will be redistributed to lower- and middle-income people through a hodge-podge of refundable tax credits. In the meantime, these “soak the rich” tax rates will do widespread economic harm.
First, Obama’s tax-rate increases on income will fall heavily on small businesses, which create the majority of net new jobs. Here’s why: According to Internal Revenue Service data, half of all business income is taxed at individual rather than corporate tax rates, and about two-thirds of all flow-through business income is earned by small-business owners with annual incomes exceeding $200,000. The bottom line: Up to one-third of all business income is taxed at the two marginal rates Obama wants to raise.
Second, history demonstrates the economic folly of raising capital-gains taxes at any time, and the economic benefit of keeping them permanently low. By influencing the incentives for people to invest, the capital-gains tax directly impacts the demand for — and value of — equities. Similarly, it influences the rate of investment, particularly in new, high-risk ventures. Between 1969 and 1978 capital-gains tax rates rose from 25 percent to 35 percent. Across the same period stock prices and venture-capital investment declined. A 1978 economic study by economist Michael Evans of Chase Econometrics Associates found that “the sharp declines in the stock market in 1969-1970, and 1977-1978 are due in large part to the Tax Reform Acts of 1968 and 1976.” Initial public stock offerings (IPOs) — an important measure of new venture-capital investment — also declined in this period, from an annual average rate of nearly $2 billion between 1969 and 1972 to an average of $225 million between 1975 and 1978.
When capital-gains tax rates were cut in 1979 and 1982, the results were just as predictable: Equity values rose along with investment commitments to new ventures.
Conversely, when capital-gains tax rates were increased from 20 to 28 percent in 1986, the rate of IPOs stagnated.
About a decade later President Bill Clinton signed legislation that chopped the capital-gains tax rate back down to 20 percent. And once again economic growth, investment, jobs, and federal tax receipts all increased. (David Wyss of Standard & Poor’s DRI, an economic consulting firm, has produced a study documenting these incentive effects.)
Yet despite this progress, the current capital-gains tax rate — 15 percent for individuals — is still too high. Many foreign countries tax capital gains at much lower rates, putting the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage. According to the American Council of Capital Formation, the U.S. is currently in the middle of the 30-member OECD pack in terms of taxing capital gains. Fourteen OECD countries do not tax capital gains at all.
Third, Obama’s plan to raise taxes on dividends will negatively impact business investment, the retirement income of seniors, and finally economic growth. When a corporation issues common stock to finance new job-creating investment, the returns on that investment are taxed twice, once at the corporate level and then again at the individual level when dividends are received by shareholders. This double tax on dividends encourages businesses to rely on debt rather than equity to finance new investment, a strategy that can weaken their financial condition.
The 2003 dividend tax cut from 35 to 15 percent reduced these economic distortions and provided incentives for companies to pay out dividends rather than retain their earnings. As a result, dividend payments were estimated to have increased by 20 percent.
But Obama’s proposed increase in the dividend tax would reverse this healthy trend. It also would disproportionately impact America’s seniors by taking a bigger bite out of their taxable dividends while reducing both the quality of dividend payments and the value of the stocks that produce them.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, “Of the nearly $150 billion in dividends that were reported on tax returns in 2000, people aged 65 and older received a highly disproportionate share (48 percent).” Near-retirees also received a big share of dividend income (29 percent), as did those so-called “rich” families that make more than $250,000 a year.
According to the AARP study, more than one-third (37.3 percent) of dividend income went to retirees with incomes in excess of $200,000. Simply put, raising taxes on investment is never a good idea. A 2008 study by the Center for Data Analysis found that fully repealing the 2003 capital-gain and dividend tax-rate reductions would reduce employment by 270,000 jobs, cut real GDP by $44 billion, and decrease after-tax personal income by $113 billion in a single year.
On the other hand, by maintaining low tax rates and cutting certain tax rates that remain too high, as John McCain proposes to do, the economy will remain poised for growth. Looking long-term, McCain proposes to lock in the Bush tax rates of 2003 and slash corporate tax rates. For the short-term, he proposes to cut the capital-gains tax in half for a two-year period, from 15 to 7.5 percent, a stimulus measure that would spark an immediate boost in equity values. To be fair, Obama is not calling for a full repeal of the 2003 tax cuts on income and investment, but the tax hikes he has in mind are toxic enough. His tax plan has even drawn a rebuke from the editors of the New York Times, who wrote that with “the economy tanking … it’s hard to imagine how [Obama] could prudently [raise taxes on the wealthy].” And while Obama has hinted that he would consider delaying his proposed tax increases if the economy is in recession, who really thinks a President Obama and a Democratic Congress will prioritize lower taxes over new spending?
The Times is right and Barack Obama is wrong. Now is precisely the wrong time to hike taxes — especially on entrepreneurs and investors.—
Cesar Conda, a former economic and domestic policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney and former Gov. Mitt Romney, is a principal of Navigators LLC, a Washington-based issues management firm.
OBAMA FIRES A 'ROBIN HOOD' WARNING SHOT
By CHARLES HURT Bureau Chief
New York Post
October 15, 2008
IT'S A LEAK! Barack Obama tells Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher he intends to "spread the wealth around."
WASHINGTON - You won't find it in his campaign ads, but Barack Obama let slip his plans to become a modern-day Robin Hood in the White House, confiscating money from the rich to give to the poor. [OBAMAHOOD!!]
Conservatives yesterday ripped Obama after he was caught on video telling an Ohio plumber that he intends to take the profits of small-business owners and "spread the wealth around" to those with lesser incomes.
The fracas over Obama's tax plan broke out Sunday outside Toledo when Joe Wurzelbacher approached the candidate.
Wurzelbacher said he planned to become the owner of a small plumbing business that will take in more than the $250,000 amount at which Obama plans to begin raising tax rates.
"Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?" the blue-collar worker asked.
After Obama responded that it would, Wurzelbacher continued: "I've worked hard . . . I work 10 to 12 hours a day and I'm buying this company and I'm going to continue working that way. I'm getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American Dream."
"It's not that I want to punish your success," Obama told him. "I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too.
Then, Obama explained his trickle-up theory of economics.
"My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Critics said Obama let the cat out of the bag.
"It's clear that his main goal is redistribution of wealth, not growth," said Andy Roth with the anti-tax group Club for Growth. "He's perfectly happy to destroy wealth as long as he can redistribute it."
Obama has been meticulous, Roth said, to conceal the "socialistic" nature of his tax plans. "But every once in a while, he lets it slip," he said.
Republican candidate John McCain yesterday charged that Obama's comment was telling.
"This explains how Senator Obama can promise an income-tax cut for millions who aren't even paying income taxes right now," he said in Pennsylvania.
"My plan isn't intended to force small businesses to cut jobs to pay higher taxes so we can 'spread the wealth around.' My plan is intended to create jobs and increase the wealth of all Americans."
III. Obama on the Fundamental Social & Political Change That Must Be Undertaken Within America And Abroad, Including a Change in America's World View From Unipolar to Multipolar
[See, e.g.: Eurobama Seeks Support From Green EU Social Welfare Regulatory State to 'Change' America, ITSSD Journal on Pathological Communalism, at: http://itssdpathologicalcommunalism.blogspot.com/2008/08/eurobama-seeks-support-from-green-eu.html].
See: THE EXTRA-WTO PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE: ONE EUROPEAN “FASHION” EXPORT THE UNITED STATES CAN DO WITHOUT, 17
TEMPLE POLITICAL & CIVIL RIGHTS LAW REVIEW 2, 491-604 (2008)
THE O JESSE KNOWS - JACKSON ON OBAMA'S AMERICA
By Amir Tahiri
New York Post Opinion
October 14, 2008
PREPARE for a new America: That's the message that the Rev. Jesse Jackson conveyed to participants in the first World Policy Forum, held at this French lakeside resort last week.
He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy - saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."
The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.
Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.
"Obama is about change," Jackson told me in a wide-ranging conversation. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it."
Jackson warns that he isn't an Obama confidant or adviser, "just a supporter." But he adds that Obama has been "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Jackson's son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and Jackson's daughter went to school with Obama's wife Michelle.
"We helped him start his career," says Jackson. "And then we were always there to help him move ahead. He is the continuation of our struggle for justice not only for the black people but also for all those who have been wronged."
Will Obama's election close the chapter of black grievances linked to memories of slavery? The reverend takes a deep breath and waits a long time before responding.
"No, that chapter won't be closed," he says. "However, Obama's victory will be a huge step in the direction we have wanted America to take for decades."
Jackson rejects any suggestion that Obama was influenced by Marxist ideas in his youth. "I see no evidence of that," he says. "Obama's thirst for justice and equality is rooted in his black culture."
[WELL, THE PROOF MAY BE IN THE PUDDING! ARE THEY BOTH NOT SOMEWHAT RELATED? See: What Do the 'Chicago 7', Surrealism and Barack Obama Have in Common? They Aren't Really Healers: Each Romanticizes Radical Counter-Cultural Change!!, ITSSD Journal on Political Surrealism at: http://itssdjournalpoliticalsurrealism.blogspot.com/2008/05/what-do-chicago-7-surrealism-and-barack.html .
But is Obama - who's not a descendant of slaves - truly a typical American black?
Jackson emphatically answers yes: "You don't need to be a descendant of slaves to experience the oppression, the suffocating injustice and the ugly racism that exists in our society," he says.
"Obama experienced the same environment as all American blacks did. It was nonsense to suggest that he was somehow not black enough to feel the pain."
Is Jackson worried about the "Bradley effect" - that people may be telling pollsters they favor the black candidate, but won't end up voting for him?
"I don't think this is how things will turn out," he says. "We have a collapsing economy and a war that we have lost in Iraq. In Afghanistan, we face a resurgent Taliban. New threats are looming in Pakistan. Our liberties have been trampled under feet . . . Today, most Americans want change, and know that only Barack can deliver what they want. Young [NAIVE, UNINFORMED & INEXPERIENCED] Americans are especially determined to make sure that Obama wins."
He sees a broad public loss of confidence in the nation's institutions: "We have lost confidence in our president, our Congress, our banking system, our Wall Street and our legal system to protect our individual freedoms. . . I don't see how we could regain confidence in all those institutions without a radical change of direction."
Jackson declines to be more concrete about possible policy changes. After all, he insists, he isn't part of Obama's policy team. Yet he clearly hopes that his views, reflecting the position of many Democrats, would be reflected in the policies of an Obama administration.
On the economic front, he hopes for "major changes in our trading policy."
"We cannot continue with the open-door policy," he says. "We need to protect our manufacturing industry against unfair competition that destroys American jobs and creates ill-paid jobs abroad."
[THE UNFAIR COMPETITION ABOUT WHICH REVEREND JACKSON SPEAKS HAS LESS TO DO WITH THE LACK OF EXPENSIVE LABOR LAWS & NON-SCIENTIFIC & COSTLY ENVIRONMENTAL OVER-REGULATION SIMILAR TO THAT NOW OCCURRING WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION (AS OPPOSED TO THE U.S.) THAT DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WISELY DO NOT ADOPT. ACTUALLY, THE UNFAIR COMPETITION HAS TO DO MUCH WITH GOVERNMENTS INDIRECTLY SUBSIDIZING THEIR CURRENCIES, AND THE COST OF MANUFACTURING AND LABOR TO MAINTAIN CHEAP DEVELOPING COUNTRY PRODUCT PRICES. IN ADDITION THERE ARE DIRECT SUBSIDIES PROVIDED TO DEVELOPING COUNTRY FARMERS & MANUFACTURERS THAT INCREASE THEIR PROFITS RELATIVE TO U.S. COMPETITORS. THE TYPE OF TRADE PROTECTIONISM THAT JACKSON & OBAMA ARE CALLING FOR IS VERY POLITICALLY DANGEROUS. See: Trade Expert Criticizes Obama & Blue Party's Prescription for Economic Change: Adoption of the European Trade Strategy Known as 'Export-Protectionism', ITSSD Journal on Disguised Trade Barriers, at: http://itssddisguisedtradebarriers.blogspot.com/2008/09/trade-expert-criticizes-obama-blue.html ; OBAMA-BROWN-MICHAUD Non-Tariff Trade Barrier Act Likely to Devastate US Economy, Trigger a Global Trade War & Endanger World Peace, ITSSD Journal on Disguised Trade Barriers, at: http://itssddisguisedtradebarriers.blogspot.com/2008/06/us-trading-partners-beware-obama.html ].
Would that mean an abrogation of the NAFTA treaty with Canada and Mexico?
Jackson dismisses the question as "premature": "We could do a great deal without such dramatic action."
His most surprising position concerns Iraq. He passionately denounces the toppling of Saddam Hussein as "an illegal and unjust act." But he's now sure that the United States "will have to remain in Iraq for a very long time."
What of Obama's promise to withdraw by 2010? Jackson believes that position will have to evolve, reflecting "realities on the ground."
"We should work with our allies in Iraq to consolidate democratic institutions there," he says.
"We must help the people of Iraq decide and shape their future in accordance with their own culture and faith."
On Iran, he strongly supports Obama's idea of opening a direct dialogue with the leadership in Tehran. "We've got to talk to tell them what we want and hear what they want," Jackson says. "Nothing is gained by not talking to others."
Would that mean ignoring the four UN Security Council resolutions that demand an end to Iran's uranium-enrichment program? Jackson says direct talks wouldn't start without preparations.
"Barack wants an aggressive and dynamic diplomacy," he says. "He also wants adequate preparatory work. We must enter the talks after the ground has been prepared," he says.
Jackson is especially critical of President Bush's approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
"Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss," Jackson says. "Barack will change that," because, as long as the Palestinians haven't seen justice, the Middle East will "remain a source of danger to us all."
"Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims," Jackson says. "Thanks to his background and ecumenical approach, he knows how Muslims feel while remaining committed to his own faith."
Amir Taheri's next book, "The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution," is due out next month
The Relative Truth Of This Presidential Election Is "WWWPD" (What Would White People Do?) - Between the Lines
By Anthony Asadullah Samad
The Black Commentator
May 1 , 2008 - Issue 275
The Pennsylvania Primary unveiled the stark realities of what this Presidential election is about - in terms of the other candidates, the media and, of course, the electorate. It’s no secret I’m for Barack Obama, but I’m also for fair play. I’m also for genuine processes. I have an aversion to disingenuous processes and this national election is beginning to look pretty disingenuous. Watching the media frame lies as “episodes” and close races as “big victories” is overwhelming. It reminds me of the disingenuous periods of American history where we were told if we were hardworking and honest, got education - we would be equal; then if we got political power (right to vote), we would be equal, when neither were true in the absolute sense since economics has always been the real equalizer. Now Obama has the kind of money that no black political candidate has ever amassed, by the most number of contributors ever amassed, he still can’t get equal treatment. To act as if race didn’t have an impact on Pennsylvania (as Ed Rendell said it would) and that codified racial messages haven’t become dominant themes in this election that both Clinton and McCain are playing to (and benefiting from) is simply disingenuous. Rendell knew what some white people would do.
The sliding truth “goal posts” on the Democratic side and the “selective amnesia” on the Republican side are going to undermine America’s system and the lack of integrity that the country has in the global community will evidence itself on the domestic front. In the final analysis, this election is going to test the moral compass of the dominate population (69%) in this country as to whether or not they’ve moved past race and are prepared to do what’s right AND just. To many of them, the truth is relative. Part of the socio-political justice problem in America is we (Black Americans, and everybody else) never know what we’re dealing with when it comes to integrity of white people on hidden racial biases. Like any other race, there’s good, and there’s bad, then there’s mostly indifferent who tolerate the bad and obliterate the good.
Moral suasion has never moved the majority of whites. That’s a historical fact. It didn’t in the abolitionist of slavery, and it didn’t in the abolishment of segregation. The next test will be if they accept the moral candidacy of someone who has emerged as the people’s choice to lead. I don’t believe this query is subjective. It’s based on the reaction of the largest number of people to participate in the primary election - in the history of this country. We all know, when voting day comes, white voters - many who consider themselves “Christians” - are going to determine Obama’s political fate. Popular culture has a way of interjecting religious justice in our daily decisions by wearing things labeled WWJD, subliminally asking ourselves in times of challenge or trial, “What Would Jesus Do?” To know how the Democratic nomination, and the subsequent general election, is going to play out, we simply have to ask ourselves, WWWPD (What would White People Do?). A clear decision has become clouded. Everyone is nervous because we, of all people, know white’s history on racial questions.
First, a disclaimer; I’m not talking about all white people. We know Barack has broad white support, particularly among Post-Civil Rights Era whites who came of age after the race (civil rights [1950s/1960s], affirmative action [1970s/early 1980s], white backlash [late 1980s/1990s]) movements in this country and whose prism isn’t framed in racial context. And even if this campaign weren’t as realized as it has become, who can claim all support from old versus the young, conservative versus liberal, Christian versus Agnostic? Whites are no more a monolith than Blacks are. I’m just talking about the ones that are being disingenuous about their hidden biases and their irrational choices. They’re the ones that claim they want change, but not “that kind” of change, or claim they want to do what’s in the best interest of the country but look past the kind of politics that got the country in the state it’s in. This election has become exactly what those who have run this country (for two hundred years, in various iterations) want it to be, an illusion of change that reinforces the same political realities of this nation and the status quo choices that lie therein. The rich and powerful in this nation will morph themselves into anything to retain power. They will paint any picture, and create any scenario - true or not, to frame themselves into something sympathetic to the masses. Finally and most critically (or controversially), the status quo makes the truth a lie and a lie the truth to where truth is a relative engagement in how losers becomes winners and how some people are able to disguise their biases (not very effectively) to justify irrational political choices not in their political or cultural interests. Voila! relativity!!!
The false truths that continue to undermine a “change election” are beginning to be pervasive. The thousands that Obama draws in comparison to the hundreds the other two draw who are being misrepresented by “stagers” who put young people behind candidates and polls create false illusions of WWYPD (what would young people do?) in the general election. Watching this relative truth game is debilitating, as the Clintons continue to twist truth the way they always have (starting with “I smoked, but I didn’t inhale” in 1991) and McCain acts like he doesn’t know what’s going on after labeling himself “the Straight Talk Express” for much of his career. The reality of Hillary Clinton’s political fate is rooted in a falseness that gives her more “life chances” than a cat has lives, more false scenarios than any practical political scientist would suggest is logical, more false media forecasts than any ethical media would report and more time to create false issues about the things that don’t really matter. The reality of John McCain’s political fate is rooted in being able to hold the lies that the Bush Administration has told in order to get enough party support to play the “alternative choice” to a woman and, of course, the unspeakable - having to make a decision that most white Americans (and truth be told - black Americans) never thought they would have to face, the prospect of choosing a legitimate black Presidential nominee. So the truth becomes a lie.
Most know (and acknowledge) that Hillary won’t win. Not that she can’t, if she were the nominee, but she won’t be the nominee - not if the Democrats’ nomination process has any integrity, or if the truth becomes the lie. The Democratic Party created the proportional delegate process. Now Clinton wants winner take all or a big state consideration, or a “blue state” - anything but what the rules say. The Florida/Michigan situation, which the Democratic National Committee defined, is now being manipulated just to make her seem as if she is equal to Obama.
The media effort to keep her in the race has resorted to the Clintons lying and the media soft-soaping it, or the media becoming complicit in the lie itself. Never, in recent history, has a candidate who was caught in a bold-faced lie not lost public confidence. The Clintons were caught in two: Hillary on the Bosnia crossfire, and Bill on the time she told it. Obviously, some voters in Pennsylvania didn’t care what she said - they weren’t going to vote for Obama anyway, and exits polls of nearly 30% of them said if he gets the nomination, they’re voting for McCain. Very telling about what white people would do if Obama wins the nomination, and it’s not exclusive to Pennsylvania voters.
Before the Pennsylvania primary, most all the pundits stated that Clinton needed to win that primary “large,” meaning by 20 points or more. In fact, they said she had to win all the remaining primaries in the 60-65% range just to pull close by the end of the primaries. If Obama won just 40% of the remaining primaries, even with re-votes in Florida and Michigan, she would never catch him. So the bar became the “double digit” victory for Hilary not to bow out. On election night, their claimed 10 point victory sufficed as meeting the “double digit” bar she needed to stay in, when in fact, the victory wasn’t a double digit. The final result was 9.2% (www.electionreturns.state.pa.us). Yet, the media still allows Clinton to lie about the double digit victory, and no one wants to talk about what happened to the 25 point lead. They would rather talk about why he hasn’t “put her away.” Remember, he’s the underdog (even as the frontrunner).
The primaries were set up for her - she was supposed to put him away. But truth about what was supposed to happen (a Clinton nomination), has become a lie about what hasn’t happened (Obama closing the nomination). The relative truth has us now guessing what will happen next and expectation is, if Obama loses the nomination (or has it stolen) - to Blacks, it’s viewed as “white folk just being folk” when comes to the issue of race. They’ll never tell that’s what it is, but it is. When nearly one of three Hilary voters (28%) say they’ll vote for McCain if she doesn’t get the nomination (when the norm in past elections is 10%), what else could it be besides racism?
[IS THIS THE ONLY EXPLANATION FOR NOT WANTING TO VOTE FOR OBAMA?? IF SO, THEN HE & HIS SUPPORTERS ARE WITHOUT DOUBT APPEALING TO PEOPLES' SYMPATHIES & PLAYING THE 'RACE CARD'!]
The goal posts will continue to shift, and the game will change, according to how one can pick at what Obama says, or a surrogate says, or a preacher says, or some long ago associate once said - none of which has anything to do with what Barack is saying - in how to change the nation.
I’m not convinced some people want change in this country. The real question is how many whites want the change Barack represents. Just as when slavery and segregation’s end came, some white people will not be ready for it. Barack’s nomination/election will depend on what fair white people will do. The rest will continue to support the relative truth we’ve come to know as America.