September 27, 2011
Billionaire investor Buffett (According to Forbes, Buffett’s estimated wealth is $39 billion as second-richest American behind Microsoft’s Bill Gates.) is to be at the North Shore home of Byron Trott, an investment banker, on October 27, to headline President Obama’s blockbuster Chicago fundraiser.
Mr. Byron Trott as a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, isn’t know as an outspoken Obma supporter. He has donated to candidates of both parties, with his most recent donation of $2,500 made to Mitt Romney in June of this year. Even so Warren Buffet calls Byron Trott his favorite investment banker.
Although President Obama is not expected to attend, it will be co-hosted by the same local donors who lined up to fuel Obama’s first presidential campaign at $35,800 per ticket — James Crown, Penny Pritzker, and John Roger, Jr.
Warren Buffett was recently featured at a September fundraising event in New York by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. For this event the Buffett name was used as the draw for a reception and dinner where tickets ranged from $10,000 to $35,800 each.
It was not surprising to learn that the Warren Buffett late September New York fundraiser and the upcoming one at the North Shore home of Byron Trotter both selected as moderator, Austin Goolsbee, a University of Chicago law professor and former chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration
Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, recently become a household name and was linked to the Obama Administration through a recent “New York Times” op-ed he wrote which called on the rich to pay more taxes.
Taking a clue from Buffett’s “New York Times” op-ed piece, President Obama requested permission from Warren Buffet to allow his administration to use Buffett’s name in the title of a provision applicable to Obama’s $474 bilion jobs legislation. As such Obama dubbed a proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy, the “Buffett Rule.”
Most controversial in Buffett’s “New York Times” op-ed was the claim that he was taxed at 17.7% on the $46 million he made without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary was taxed at 30% for earnings amounting to $60,000.
Lately Warren Buffett has changed his tune. In a later op-ed piece Buffet no longer is claiming that his tax rate was higher than that of his secretary, but instead that he is being taxed more than others in his office. President Obama, nevertheless, continues to repeat Buffett’s “New York Times” op-ed claim that Buffet’s secretary is being taxed at 30% to Buffett’s tax rate of 17.7%.
It makes no sense for President Obama to advance a new tax policy based on what is happening to the top 0.0000006% earning individuals. Such a proposal is both risky and foolish.
Warren Buffett is almost definitely lying about the tax rate of his secretary. CBO data, with payroll taxes included, indicates that someone making about $64,000 pays a total effective tax rate of around 14.3 if single and 7.5% if married.
It seems apparent that Buffett is either confusing or purposely comparing two different rates of taxation. Money earned through investments is taxed at a lower rate than income from wages. In Buffett’s case, 90% of his earned income is taxed at the lower investment rate. The typical person who earns more than $10 million per year usually earns only about 38% of his income from investments that qualify for the lower tax rate.
Anyone who makes 90% of their money, as does Warren Buffett, from investments could theoretically pay around 15% whether they earn $50,000 or $50,000.000.
Even though Warren Buffet stated in a “New York Times” op-ed piece that he wants people to pay more on money earned through investments, it is obvious that the “Buffet Rule” has nothing to do with wealthy individuals. Rich individual already carry far more of the tax burden than do the poor or the middle class. The top 10% of tax payers carry 73% of the income tax burden, while the bottom 51% of tax payers carry 0%.
In that President Obama continues to berate rich people for not paying their fair share of taxes is proof that Obama’s rhetoric is all about class warfare (a political ploy) and not sensible tax policy. The problem described by Warren Buffet of how the tax rate is insufficient on income that is realized through investments — might apply to professional investors, but not to rich people.
There are reasons why the tax rate for income earned through investments should be lower rate than for wages.
First of all, lowering the capital gains tax does bring in more revenue. Bill Clinton signed legislation which dropped the capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20% in 1997. George W. Bush later dropped the rate to 15%. In each instance the rate drops resulted in an increase of tax revenues.
Eric M. Jackson, formerly of PayPal and now CEO of CaptLinked, an on-line platform for private investing, explained in a “Washington Post” article on September 22, how “increased taxation of capital gains would guarantee that investors would have a lower rate of return, would decrease the pool of capital available for early-stage investments, and would make the U.S. less competitive on the global stage.
Neither Warren Buffet or President Obama seem to realize that it is through capital gains that technology investors make money. Willing to invest in high risk companies, knowing that many of their portfolio companies could fail, potential payoffs from winning companies justifies risk taking by investors.
So why raise capital gains rates at all? A million or so people in this nation own stock and would be affected. Many of them are senior citizens and retired people who depend on retirement income to supplement their Social Security checks. They would be hurt by higher investment taxes.
The “Buffett Rule” is not working in CA where a Buffett-Rule-esque tax requires that all whose earned income exceeds $1 million must pay an extra 10.3% in taxes in addition to federal taxes. Soaking the rich in CA has resulted in a precarious revenue roller coaster ride. In Sacramento it’s either boom or bust time depending on how the wealthy are faring in the stock market and in their other investments.
Republicans must respond back in kind to President Obama when he uses unsophisticated fallacies to promote his illogical financial policies when on road trips, which includes spending $447 billion more on a jobs stimulus bill.
One such response might go like this:
President Obama: “Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare.”
Republican response: “Either we stop Obama from giving our tax money to fat-cat labor union bosses and to others like Solyndra in “Pay for Play” handouts, or the money won’t be there for seniors to receive the medical treatment that they need and deserve.”
More and more of the American people are beginning to realize that under President Obama’s leadership America is headed in the wrong direction. Obama’s current idea of seeking to increase stimulus spending to fund bigger government by turning to millionaires and billionaires to pay for it, will only result in stiffing job creation by those who create jobs through capital to invest in new businesses.
Should voters in the 2012 elections elect a Republican president and a Republican-controlled House and Senate, of concern is whether Republican House and Senate members will really have the heart and the will to reduce the size of government so raising taxes to support and maintain a bloated government doesn’t rear its ugly head.
Will history repeat itself? As has happened before, Republicans often speak of wanting less government and of lowering taxes, but what they really desire when in power is to control the purse strings.
In this way Republicans are little different from their Democrat counterparts. When push comes to shove, members of both parties vote on issues and policies in ways that will please those whom they are counting on to return them to power, as money has become the mother’s milk of politics.
May Republican voters steer clear of a presidential candidate who is just an echo of what a Republican candidate should stand for. We don’t need a Republican in the White House who promises to compromise with Democrats if what Democrats call for represents policies which are bad for this nation now and for future generations.
By any means, 2012 will not be an ordinary election. It is my hope that Republicans of all stripes, Independents, and even some Democrats will recognize the severity of these time as it affects the very future of this nation when they vote in November of 2012.
If Republicans are successful in the 2012 elections, may they recognize the charge they have been given by voters to accomplish that which they were sent to Washington, D.C. to do: 1) Bringing spending under control; 2) reducing the size of government; 3) eliminating unnecessary regulations; 4) freeing America’s job creators to get back to business; and 5) setting a new moral tone to counter the depravity that has infected society at all levels.
A word to Republicans if elected in 2012, there will be no time left to fail. The continuation of the status quo would amount to a rapid and irreversible crumbling of the very foundations upon which this nation was conceived. The result would be a death sentence and the admission that all who fought and died in wars to defend liberty and freedom did so in vain.
It is said that at the close of the Constitutional Convention a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him what type of government had been decided upon by the delegates. Franklin stated: “We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.” Franklin, of course, also believed that the Constitution could only last as long as the people themselves could sustain it.
Might the end be near? I hope not, but it will be up to American voters and their elected representatives to decide the fate of this nation in 2012. May both be up to the challenge that lies ahead. May God continue to Bless America.
September 24, 2011
As a conservative Republican, well aware that those of my persuasion are more often than not given short-shrift by so-called county-club Republicans — also known as establishment Republicans — why should I have been surprised after watching the Fox News-sponsored debate of Thursday, September 22, to observe how two former governors, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Rick Perry of Texas, were once again promoted by the media and Republican pundits as the leading two contenders out of nine to duke it out for the chance to go up against President Barack Obama in the 2012 elections?
Truth be I wasn’t, but I’m not happy with how things are unfolding. Both former governors Mitt Romney and Rick Perry might be compared to chameleons. Chameleons are able to change color depending on the air. Romney and Perry both change political messages to suit the occasion.
While governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney took a number of Democratic stances. He was even pro-choice. Rick Perry was a Democrat until not all that long ago, which accounts for Perry’s decline among many conservative Republican voters because he gave tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants to attend state colleges while governor of Texas.
Will voters ever get to know the real Mitt Romney or Rick Perry?
The 2012 elections are of grave importance, for they will determine the direction of this nation and even its survival.
Republicans are definitely taking a chance should they select a presidential candidate who only represents half a loaf. In these momentous time, Republican voters need a candidate who exhibits a full loaf of Republicanism to move this nation away from its moral and financial depravity, not just an echo candidate.
September 22, 2011
In a “Glut the Beast” strategy, President Barack Obama in a 20-minute speech in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday, September 19, unveiled a $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan with $1.5 billion in tax hikes.
Twice before during this year President Obama’s pushed his “Glut the Beast” strategy (to spend as much as possible and then argue that the only answer to massive deficits is to increase taxes), only to have both rejected, the first time back in February when Obama’s budget submission became a non-starter in the Senate, and the second time in a speech this summer following the narrowly averted government shutdown. Both laid out similar targeted deficit deductions and tax increases.
Obama’s second proposal this summer was panned because it lacked specificity. Accordingly, coinciding with Obama’s Sept.19 Rose Garden speech was the release of a 80-page document laying out where Obama intended to find the savings or force reductions, effective in 2017, in overhead spending in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Knowing beforehand that his third attempt would be as dead in the water as his other two, Obama speech helped to further divide the country by ginning up a nasty class warfare debate.
House Speaker John A. Boehner had this to say about Obama’s Rose Garden “balanced approach” of tax cuts and targeted deficit deductions: “This administration’s insistence on raising taxes on job creators, and its reluctance to take the steps necessary to strengthen our entitlement programs, are the reasons the president and I were not able to reach an agreement previously, and it is evident today that these barriers remain.”
Where President Obama’s tough talk speech did succeed was in energizing liberal advocates and Democrats in Congress, for whom tax increases are as desirable and as patriotic as apple pie.
Praise was forthcoming from Democrats who had warily watched as Obama negotiated with Republican Majority Leader Boehner. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was quick to offer this statement of approval: “The president put down a marker today, and he did it in terms more forceful than we have seen him before.”
Only two years ago President Obama emphatically renounced raising taxes during a recession. What changed Obama’s tune were the upcoming 2012 elections and his urgent need to shore up his base. But has job creation been forgotten? Didn’t Obama promise that he would focus like a laser on jobs?
The most controversial aspect of Obama’s deficit reducing plan has been dubbed the “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire Warren Buffett who advocates raising taxes on capital gains from 15% to 35% on investment income. It has now been revealed that Buffett’s advocacy amounts to a case of hypocrisy. on his part.
It turns out that Buffett’s own company, Berkshire Hathaway, had every opportunity to pay more taxes over the last decade, but instead his company has been mired in a protracted legal battle with the Internal Revenue Service over a tax bill that one analyst estimates may total $1 billion
About Warren Buffett: He is the primary shareholder and Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, named in 2011 as the third wealthiest person in the world.
About Berkshire Hathaway: It is a a diverse mix of more than 60 businesses – including furniture, jewelry, candy, natural gas and corporate jets. Berkshire also owns several major insurance companies, including Geico and reinsurance giant General Re. Reinsurance companies sell backup coverage to other insurers, spreading risk in the event of huge losses. In 2010 Berkshire re-insured the property and casualty reserves of Swiss Re to cover billions in losses. Having invested $2.6 billion in Swiss Re with the possibility to convert the investment into conventional Swiss Re shares in 2012, would allow Berkshire to control roughly a quarter of Swiss Re.
The above information points to a conflict of interest by Buffett as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Insurance products do well when rates go up. Consequently, Buffett’s insurance businesses would reap financial gain.
Warren Buffett, know as the “Oracle of Omaha,” has increasingly championed Mr. Obama in a relationship the Obama campaign has embraced. It is not surprising that Warren Buffett will be in Chicago on Oct. 27 to head a fundraiser for President Obama at $35,800 per ticket.
The “Buffett Rule” would tax those who create jobs when this nation can least afford it, along with other proposals advanced in Obama’s 9/17 speech which allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for families and small businesses earning more than $250,000 a year, while eliminating deductions, credits, and exemptions. Completely ignored is the core problem — massive and out-of-control spending!
Within the 80-page documents are proposals that would raise security fees on air travel and ask military retirees to pay a fee when they enter Medicare. Proposed also is that federal employees pay an additional 1.2% of their paychecks in contributions to the federal retirement system.
President Obama insists that “this (his plan) is not class warfare; it’s math. The money’s got to come from someplace.” But what else could it be when there is a war being waged on success, as if extremely wealthy individuals were the root of our spending problems!
As Heritage Foundation Allison Fraser commented: “. . . as if somehow hiking taxes is both fair and necessary and that it is above class welfare. It is a tactic to stall the real reforms that our leaders in Washington must undertake now in order to avert a fiscal, economic and moral crisis.”
Steve Stanek, Research Fellow, Budget and Tax policy at Chicago’s Heartland Institute, CEO Joseph Bast, came up with this math:
“If the federal government were to take every penny of income above $250,000 from the 2% of households that earn more than that amount, the total would be $1.4 trillion.
If the federal government were to take every penny of net worth from the nation’s 400 billionaires — including Warren Buffett — that would total another $1.3 trillion.
Combine the two amounts and that totals $2.7 trillion, approximately $1 trillion less than needed to cover this year’s federal budget. And once all that money is spent it’s gone. Those billionaires would be paupers with no money to invest and hire people.”
About federal spending Heartland’s Stanek had this to say: “Federal spending has grown from $1.8 trillion twenty years ago to $3.7 trillion his year. The more government spends, the more it drains resources from the private sector.”
Jim Bowman, who writes and posts under Blithe Spirit, related in a post on Tuesday, Sept. 20, how the rich already pay much more in taxes:
“An analysis by the nonpartisan “Tax Policy Center” projects that for 2011, household with more than $1 million in income will have an average federal tax rate of 29.1%, compared to a rate of about 12.4% for households with income of $40,000 to $50,000. The center counts all federal taxes, including income, payroll and estate taxes.
Internal Revenue Service data suggests a similar pattern for individual income tax, according to an analysis by the “Tax Foundation,” a nonpartisan research group. It found that households with income between $40,000 and $50,000 have an average tax rate of about 6.8%, while household with income over $1 million have an average rate of 24.6%”
It has often been reported how the top 10% of earners in America already pay about 70% of federal income taxes, triggering reduced productivity, slower economic growth, depressed wages and salaries, and a decrease in household wealth.
A Heritage Foundation “Morning Bell” report of 9/20/2011 zeros in on reform as the necessary ingredient to reduce “this nation’s unemployment crises, a debt crisis, a spending crisis, and an entitlement crisis. An urgency exists to transform our entitlement program and overhaul our punitive, inefficient and noncompetitive tax code.”
Also related in the same Heritage report is 1) how about 25% of this nation’s gross domestic product can be attributed to our federal government and 2) how federal spending is a huge drag on the economy since all that spending is paid for by taxes and borrowing, summarily reducing the amount available for investment in the private economy.
Concerning entitlement spending, “Social Security is growing at a rate of 5.8% per year; Medicare at 6.3%; and Medicaid at 9%. This rate of growth cannot continue. It is obvious that the programs need to be fundamentally reformed.”
President Obama and the Democrats have spent nearly $5 trillion in less than 3 years to create a huge piece of the debt, yet the same want the upper level of income people, already paying more than their fair share of taxes, to pay even more.
The issue has become a moral question. How much is a “fair share” to pay in taxes? In the states of New York and California the well-to-do already pay more than 50%.
Just as whites were made to feel guilty if they didn’t support Obama (a black man) in 2008, might there now be an attempt to create guilt among Americans if they don’t believe in sharing the wealth?
There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says once you become successful because you’ve worked hard and took advantage of opportunity that you are now responsible for those who haven’t.
Yes, everyone should pay their fair share of taxes, including the bottom 50% who currently pay no taxes.
It is a sleight of hand, however, for the Obama administration to proclaim that their policies are not fashioned to reward big donors in the Pay-for-Play type of Chicago politics out of which Barack Obama “cut his teeth,” and which later elevated Obama to a false saint-like status which led to his election as president in 2008.
As if this scenario wasn’t enough, George Soros became Obama’s financial supporter and behind-the-scenes manipulation during his presidential campaign; Soros continues to be Obama’s patron, guru, and puppet master.
September 20, 2011
As the Solyndra scandal continues to heat up in which the White House helped out a donor in its rush to use stimulus money — $90 billion was ear marked for green energy in the 2008 stimulus bill, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — as a means to make green jobs the centerpiece of Obama’s administration, it came as no surprise to hear that the White House is planning to use GM as a poster child for its successes to divert attention away from Solyndra. Prior to Solyndra going belly up this month along with more than 1,100 jobs and $528 million of our tax dollars, Solyndra Corp. served as the poster child for the Obama administration’s ability to create green jobs.
GM, which many prefer to call “Government Motor”, was selected by the Obama administration as the recipient of a government slush fund to reward unions and other Democratic loyalists upon its arrival in Washington.
It was revealed by Erick Erickson on Monday, September 19, through a freedom of information act request filed by the competitive Enterprise Institute, that (A) General Motors had not actually paid back its loan and (B) had coordinated the ad campaign with the Obama Administration in which GM misleadingly claimed to have repaid all its government loans.
In the same post, Erickson tells of a series of coordinated efforts between the Obama Administration and General Motors.
It remains to be seen whether GM can be made the new poster child of the Obama administration’s push for more government stimulus as the way to produce jobs and jump start the economy.
Returning to the Solyndra bankruptcy, Democratic pundits and the Obama administration are continuing to cast blame for the failure of Solyndra upon the Bush administration (The Bush administration has become the poster child (scape goat) for all the bad that has befallen the Obama administration since it took office in 2009.).
As reported by Fox News on Friday, September 16, it is true that Solyndra officials did intensely pressure Bush administration officials in January of 2009 to approve a government loan for Solyndra prior to the Obama administration taking office, but the Bush administration turned down the request as noted in the following account:
On January 12, 2009, Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet sent an Energy Department official an email marked ‘urgent’ expressing outrage that Bush officials had decided a few days earlier that while the loan application had ‘merit’ it needed further study before officials could move forward with a taxpayer-financed loan. The next day, Jan. 13, 2009, Bush’s energy official, Lachian Seward, sent his e-mail to Energy Department colleagues saying it was time to stop engaging with Solyndra.
Solyndra was the first green company to get a loan guarantee from Obama’s near trillion dollar stimulus bill of 2008, despite a warning from accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Cooper that Solyndra had financial troubles severe enough to “raise substantial doubts about its ability to continue as a growing concern. The warning was prior to the Obama Administration’s signing off on the $535 million loan guarantee in September of 2009. It was in the same month that Vice President Biden made a live announcement about Solyndra’s $535 loan guarantee.
The White House official who had charge of planning a personal visit by Obama to the Solyndra plant in May, 2010 of the following year, dismissed the criticism about Solyndra’s financial woes as nothing but “B.S.”
Fast forward to January of this year, the Office of Budget and Management warned the White House that the “optics of a Solyndra default will be bad . . . The timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.”
In an act that reaks of outrageous crony capitalism, and following this warning by OBM, the Obama administration restructured Solyndra’s half-billion federal loan guarantee in such a way that private investors — including George Kaiser (Solyndra’s major investor and fundraiser and one of the top 100 richest people in the world who owns 36.7 percent of Solyndra through his Family Foundation), along with other top executives and board members who had donated more than $87,000 to elect Obama, moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of a default.
George Kaiser et al were frequent visitors to 1600 Pennsylvania, including a visit that took place of March of 2009, just one week before the Department of Energy approved Solyndra’s loan.
A much publicized and reported event of several weeks ago was of Solyndra going belly up and the FBI raiding the homes of top executives. But the story is not over.
Another leg of the Solyndra story made the news on Friday, September 16, when it was reported that a second top fundraiser for President Obama, Steve Spinner, was linked to the federal loan guarantee program that backed Solyndra Inc. Steve Spinner joined the Obama administration in April of 2009 as adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and was charged with helping oversee a loan guarantee program authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Stimulus Act of 2008. In this role Spinner also helped monitor the Energy Department’s issuance of $25 billion in government-backed loans to renewable energy projects. http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/20110917obama_fundraiser_linked_to_federal_loan_for_failed_solar_company
Even though Spinner claims he didn’t have any role in the selection of Solyndra to receive a $535 loan, having recused himself because his wife’s law firm represents the company, Spinner position as top official in the Energy Department Program is likely to raise some red flags.
Out in Sacramento, CA lawmakers are questioning a separate $27 million tax break given to Solyndra under a law intended to encourage clean-energy companies to do business in CA.
Solyndra is not the only solar power company to hit rock bottom after being beneficiaries of the 2009, $800 billion economic stimulus package. Solar panels which cost $6.00 to make with a sale price of $3.00 is not good business practice under any stretch of the imagination!
Among others solar companies which failed are Evergreen Solar Inc. and SpectraWatts.
Evergreen Solar Inc. filed for bankruptcy last month. It had received $5.3 million through a state grant to open a $450 million facility to employ roughly 800 people.
SpectraWatt, based in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., was spun out of Intel in 2008. In June of 2009 the company received a $500,000 grant from the National Renewable Laboratory. Saying it could not compete with its Chinese competitors, SpectraWatt also filed for bankruptcy in August of this year.
Another recipient of green energy stimulus money who ultimately lost was Mountain Plaza Inc. The company had received a $424,000 from the Tennessee Department of Transportation as part of a grant aimed at installing “truck stop electrification” systems that allow idling truckers to plug-in during extended stops and turn off their exhaust-belching, environment polluting diesel engines. Mountain Plaza filed for bankruptcy protection in June, 2020, after first declaring bankruptcy back in 2003.
Troubling is this account from the San Francisco Chronicle of September 8th. Even after Solyndra and other solar power companies went bankrupt despite receiving government stimulus money, SolarCity has been given a $1 billion Federal Housing Contract to install solar panels at military bases, which constitute America’s largest consumer of energy. The government is forcing the military to set a goal of getting 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Obvious is the definite, clear relationship that exists between the recipients of economic stimulus funds and those who support Obama’s green energy agenda and donate money to him. Despite the connection, the White House and the Energy Department steadfastly deny any favoritism was involved in its grants and loan guarantees.
And where are all the jobs, especially green jobs! The number of people applying for unemployment benefits for the week leading up to Thursday, September unexpectedly rose 11,000 to 428,000, well ahead of the estimated 411,000.
Might the green-jobs revolution be going up in smoke? Despite billions of dollars in federal investments and cheer leading from President Obama, even the most ardent supporters of a job-generating energy sector based largely on wind, solar, and other renewable sources are admitting that their dreams have not translated into reality.
Spain and other European countries who have embraced green-jobs program have experienced higher-than expected costs and little payoff.
Large scale solar (and wind projects) are inherently unprofitable. For to be successful they must depend on the sun shining brightly enough hour-after-hour and a consistent wind supply to turn the turbines. Given the inconsistency of wind and sun, government subsidies are needed to finance wind and solar projects or they would most likely not exist at all because of the cost factor involved.
Unfortunately the Obama administration believes it can pick technology winner and losers that will turn into future business successes by issuing loans with tax dollars, even though the green technology currently being pushed and advanced is not yet at a stage where it is able to produce massive amount of energy at a low enough cost to make it viable.
Competition, as with every other industry, is good for the American consumer, if it brings the price down for a product; however, the administration’s stimulus spending on solar and other green technology serves as little more than black holes for taxpayers money, all in the name of reducing carbon emissions to halt man-made global warming.
This is a prime example of throwing good money after bad by an administration all too eager to manipulate the levers of federal power and largess as a means to reward Obama’s political supporters and those who buy into the administration’s global warming pitch.
http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/green.htm – Myths of Global Warming
Just in case you haven’t read the Sunday, September 18 commentary of John Kass in the Chicago Tribune, here is what he had to say about the Solyndra scandal, basically that it reeks of the Chicago Way. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0918-20110918,0,3951633.column
According to John Kass: “The Solyndra scandal is about the Washington smell of things. Those of us from Chicago know exactly what it smells like. And it doesn’t smell fresh and green.”
Incredulous is this post of September 19 on the Hill’s Energy & Environment Blog: “The Obama administration is doubling down on its support for renewable energy, stressing that it will move forward on more loans just like the one to Solyndra. In fact, as many as 13 new loan guarantees from the Energy Department — nine of which are for solar projects — could be finalized by the end of the month.”
Often attributed to Albert Einstein is this quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.”
Telling is that on Friday, September 16, the National Center for Public Policy Research reported in an e-mail that “Solyndra is only the tip of the crony capitalism iceberg.”
Today the lot on which Solyndra was build may not be vacant, but 1,100 jobs have a lost and American taxpayers are left holding the bag. This sounds like insanity to me!
September 15, 2011
Upon receiving an email Tuesday afternoon from Russ Vougt, Political Director, Heritage Action for America, with the subject heading, “Action Alert: Congressmen Nowhere to be found on Spending Extension,” although busy at the time, I was curious to read what the alert was all about and why it had a sense of urgency.
The Action Alert e-mail had to do with the U.S. Congress passing HR 2887 yesterday afternoon with a recorded voice vote only, which extended transportation construction programs at funding levels above the House-passed budget. Furthermore, this six-month spending bill didn’t even have a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.
Russ Vought went on to explain:
“The transportation package has long been the poster child of irresponsible Washington spending. When the House passed a budget in the Spring, they lowered transportation funding, representing a curb on Washington’s spending binge. And today, the House of Representatives turned its back on this spending discipline. Any Representative could have asked for a recorded vote on this bill, but none did.”
A request was then made to call my representative and to follow through with a call report to Heritage Action.
Reaching the local and Washington, D. C. offices of my congressman, 10th District Bob Dold (R-IL) was the easy part. What happened at the other end didn’t please me. The legislative office assistants at Dold’s both offices were seemingly unfamiliar with HR 2887.
After explaining the nature of HR 2887, I proceeded with the suggested protocol to use when calling my U.S. congressman.
“1) I strongly object to passing HR 2887, the transportation funding bill, and the way it was passed.
2) We sent you to Washington to cut spending, limit government, and bring back responsibility.
3) This bill increased spending, above the level in the budget the House passed just this spring.
4) and you passed this bill on a voice vote. Why didn’t you object and ask for a recorded vote to put
Representatives on the record?”
My feedback call report back to Heritage Action for America was short and to the point: “Both offices didn’t even know what HR 2887 was all about. I had to explain the bill to the legislative office assistants before I could register my objections.”
“Johny on the spot” was this return reply from a representative at Heritage for America:
That’s why this is so awful: the House voted to spend more on transportation than the budget allotted, and they don’t even know it!
Had this been a roll call vote, things many have been different. Thankfully, many other conservatives are making calls similar to your and we’re causing a ruckus on the Hill.”
It seems appropriate to ask U.S. Republican congressmen why they felt the urgency to pass in a voice vote a six-month extension to transportation program funding at a significantly level higher than the House-passed budget given that 1) The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with its price tag of $787 billion, had approximately $25 billion for Infrastructure Investments which has not all been spent and, 2) The U.S. $447-billion Jobs Package unveiled by President Obama on Thursday, September 8th, has $60 billion more slated for road, rail and air infrastructure spending.
When does enough spending become enough for a nation that must either borrow or print money to pay for spending that is generating uncontrolled and unsustainable debt for future generations of Americans?
How long can our legislators keep spending money that this nation doesn’t have, even for projects that many Americans consider worthwhile and necessary?
As was reported recently, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 didn’t create the jobs promised or stimulate the economy. So it will be with President Obama’s proposed Sept. 8th Jobs Package, even thought Obama is insisting that it must be passed now.
I am fearful that Republicans will once again feel the need to agree to spend on programs that they know will fail, fearful as they are of being targeted by President Obama, Democrat legislators, and the mainstream media as those mean Republicans who want Obama and the country to fail!
It was irresponsible what happened yesterday beneath the radar in the U.S. House with HB 2887. This kind of asleep-at-the-wheel legislating is irresponsible in face of yet another trillion dollar deficit.
Spending more money will not produce better results, a favored Democratic economic policy, even though stimulus bills meant to stimulate fail to stimulate.
Are Republican House members becoming gun shy after their elections in 2010 when we sent them to Washington, D.C. to cut spending, limit government, and bring back responsibility?
It is up to us to remind Republican House members, in no uncertain terms, that spending more is not the way to win favor with those of us who expect and demand so much more of them when we elected and sent them to Washington to work for us, we the people!
September 15, 2011
Over the past two years, several of my Letters to the Editor have been published in the Lake Forester zeroing in on the 2,100 megawatt Dual Zion Nuclear Facility, which I continue to feel was prematurely and unwisely shut down in 1998.
Despite diligent pursuit to resolve why The Zion Station was shuttered with its possibility of so many more years of productive life, the answer forthcoming from Exelon Corporation, headed by CEO and President John Rowe, never changed and did not meet the smell test. The standard answer given was one of economics.
Another question never resolved in my mind was why Exelon Corporation never attempted to sell The Zion Station to another entity if Exelon felt unable to operate it at a profit? Exelon Corporation, which also owns Commonwealth Edison, operates 10 stations and 17 nuclear units through its subsidiary, Exelon Nuclear, making Exelon Corporation the owner of the largest nuclear fleet in the United States.
Up until Sept. 1 of last year when Exelon Corporation transferred The Zion Station and its decommissioning fund to newly formed ZionSolution to dismantle Zion, I harbored the belief that somehow the Dual Zion Nuclear Station could escape destruction. Surely Illinois will have need for more electrical power sources in the future now that the EPA has mandated new regulation covering sulfur emissions from coal-fired plants. Because of the expense of updating older coal-fired plants, many of the older coal-fired plants will instead by shut down be their utility owners. Illinois has 25 coal-fired plants. One is located just north of here in Waukegan.
Thanks to a lawyer whom I had became acquainted with during my lonely two-year, one-woman mission to reopen Zion from my home base in Lake Bluff, along with the valuable input from David Hollein, a Barrington Hills resident who as project engineer for Westinghouse Corporation (designer of the steam turbines) was intimately familiar with all 11 of Illinois’s nuclear units, we continued to fight.
It is important for electric rate payers here in northern Illinois to know that between approximately 1998 and 2006 customers of ComEd paid hundreds of millions of dollars into two trust funds established by law relating to the decommissioning of the Zion Nuclear Power Plant. The balance in the Trust Funds turned over to ZionSolutions by Exelon Corporation on Sept. 1 of last year is in excess of $800 million.
All monies left over (the unspent balance) after ZionSolutions funded the necessary and reasonable decommissioning costs associated with its 10-year Zion Station decommissioning project, as applicable under law, was to be returned or credited to ComEd’s customers.
Since Sept. 1 of last year ZionSolutions has withdrawn millions of dollars from the Trust Funds, purportedly for claimed costs for planning the decommissioning of The Zion Station.
On July 14 of this year, I became one of four plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against ZionSolution LLC and the Bank of New York Mellon, a New York Chartered Bank, which was chosen to act as custodian of the Trust Funds.
The lawsuit concentrates on the fact that no qualified person or entity has been appointed to act as a trustee with respect to the Trust Funds to fully protect the rights of ComEd’s customers as beneficiaries of the Trust Funds under applicable law.
Likewise, no court or independent trustee is reviewing the withdrawals from the Trust Funds to conclusively determine whether they meet all of the requirements for payment under the terms of the law establishing and governing the Trust Funds.
Furthermore, the Bank of New York Mellon has not expressly agreed to fulfill, nor has it fulfilled, all the duties of a trustee under the law establishing the Trust Funds, having made payments from the Trust Funds to ZionSolutions, pursuant to ZionSolutions’ direction, without requiring conclusive proof that such are necessary and reasonable decommissioning costs or that such payments are otherwise fully compliant with the law.
As one of four plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit, we are entitled to have a court appointed trustee of the Trust Funds who will accept and discharge the legal duties to protect all beneficiaries, including ComEd rate payers here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff; who will withhold payment from the Trust Funds unless and until it is shown such payments are necessary and reasonable decommissioning cost; and who will manage and disburse the Trust Funds in a manner that reasonably balances the interests of ComEd’s customers in the Trusts.
Although the law suit is at least a year away from receiving a Court hearing, I felt it essential to inform Lake Forester readers about the activity taking place.
Aren’t you, as a ComEd electricity rate payer, entitled to a piece of the pie, having initially funded the Trust Funds to dismantle the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant through payments of your monthly ComEd electric bill
September 13, 2011
On Sunday, 9/11 I awoke to the type of day that must have greeted those who went to their jobs in the World Trade Towers on that fatal day ten years ago, never suspecting that they would never be returning home at the end of the work day.
For me the memory of 9/11 will always lay heavy on my heart. All who are old enough to remember will recall where they were on that ill-fated day when al Queda terrorists created havoc, terror, and death on American soil using innocent men and children as captives, in what became tombs of death in cabins of four commercial airliners.
The day before I had arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the start of what was to be an enjoyable fourteen-day trip to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Hearing that airliners had struck both of the Twin Towers just prior to a scheduled trip to Tivoli Gardens, my heart was heavy and filled with fear, away as I was from my beloved homeland, wondering what was happening back home.
The following 12 days were filled with anxiety, as I could only imagine what might be happening back home and how the senseless and brutal terrorist acts were affecting the psyches of the American people.
With this in mind, there was an urgency to drive the short distance to Market Square in Lake Forest from my home in Lake Bluff to participate in the 9/11 remembrance ceremony held by the Lake Forest Fire Department. Present at the ceremony were Lake Forest Police Officers, members of the Lake Forest Fire Department, and representatives from the Knollwood and North Chicago Fire Departments.
Walking the short distance to Market Square after parking my car, I was immediately greeted by the sight of two long ladders which had been raised from fire trucks on opposites sides of the square. Crisscrossing each other, a flag had been hung in the middle of the two extended ladders. The flag was a beautiful sight to see fluttering in the light breeze.
I was pleased to see that at least a hundred plus other residents had turned out to commemorate a day, ten years in the past, which has become a day of reflection. Before 9/11/2001, the American people were peacefully ignorant and seemingly unaware that terrorists would succeed in creating havoc on American soil.
The Lake Forest ceremony was held in front of the fountain in Market Square. The presentation of the colors took place in front of the fountain, where upon the colors were retired at the conclusion of the program to the opposite end of the square.
Initial remarks reminded the 9/11 attendees that 2,416 individuals had died in the Twin Tower attacks, along with 346 fire fighters and 60 police officers. Following was “The “Pledge of Allegiance” led by Mike Gallo, Lieutenant with the Lake Forest Fire Department.
After the “The “Pledge of Allegiance”, there were readings of the “Policeman’s Prayer” by Jim Held, Deputy Police Chief of the Lake Forest Police Department, and “The Fireman’s Prayer” by Andy Barnes, of the Lake Forest Fire Department.
The Bell Ceremony was carried out by Pete Siebert, Battalion Chief of the LFFD, along with Lt. Chief Kevin Cronin. 3 rings, 3 times of the bell signals to firefighters that it is time to go home.
Lake Forest Fire Department Chief, Jeff Howe, made brief remarks of the importance of 9/11 and then asked all gathered to reflect upon the sacrifices that those before us have made. Chief Howe ended his remarks by referencing the “Good Book”: “Why worry about tomorrow when the day before us has enough troubles of its own.”
A CROYA representative concluded the program with the playing of “Taps”.
Following the ceremony I was drawn to a fire truck that was parked directly in front of the Market Square fountain. I was informed that the 1977 fire truck was owned by Lake Forest Mayor James J. Cowley, Jr. He bought and restored the fire truck; all the gauges are still working. I was also assured that the fire truck is a functioning one.
Mayor Cowley related how his interest in fire trucks stems from having a history of family members who served as fire chiefs in Chicago.
In reflecting upon the day, this nation’s guard cannot be let down. Forgetting would be an acknowledgment that we as Americans have become so preoccupied with our own lives, that after ten long years without a successful attack on our soil, we have been lured into a false sense of security.
History does have a way of repeating itself. As a nation we have made good strides in intelligence gathering, but the terrorists only have to be successful once in what may be a string of many failed attempts.
It can happen again. Our vigil as a people and as a nation must continue unabated.
September 13, 2011
While listening to President Obama on Thursday evening, September 8, unveil his American Jobs Plan aimed at producing jobs now, I kept asking myself how Obama could continue to spend money that we don’t have, in a “bill” that does not exist nor scored by the CBO, for so-called shovel-ready projects that have no shovels, and then expect all to be paid for by an appointed, partisan Super Committee who will some how manage to find the money in cuts that have not yet been negotiated.
On top of all the hyperbole, Obama kept insisting that Congress pass a nonexistent bill NOW, which would mean the doubling down on its irresponsibility, as Congress did when an earlier, yet similar but costlier stimulus bill did not produce the promised jobs.
Obama’s address amounted to a kick-off speech for his own 2012 reelection campaign. Its proposals were designed to fail, as a way for Obama to advance his own political plan of running against a no-action Congress, specifically Republican legislators, who will then be accused of blocking Obama’s proposals to produce jobs and revive the economy.
Presidents have used similar settings to declare war, but President Obama had the audacity to abuse the grandeur of the setting under the guise of offering the American people workable job-producing solutions.
Why else would President Obama have used the phrase — “Pass the jobs bill” — or similar phrases sixteen times in his September 8th address, as this selected phrase suggests?: “Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we’ll have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it.”
From the time President Obama was elected in the fall of 2008, he has been ducking, weaving and posturing in front of a mainstream media that has been mostly forgiving when Obama stumbles and is only too happy to sing praises on behalf of President Obama.
Given the poisonous atmosphere that has been created against Republican legislators, candidates, and the Tea Party by Obama surrogates and a mainstream media, which isn’t likely to turn on Obama in 2012, I remain somewhat apprehensive that Obama might get away with fooling enough voters into believing that he needs four more years to fix the mess Bush handed over to him upon taking office. In what seems incredulous to me, there are still many Americans who blame George W. Bush more than Obama for today’s economic morass!
Democrats have much to answer for since Obama’s election, among them the present economic concerns that are causing angst among the American people:
1. 3/4 of the American people think we are on the wrong track.
2. Unemployment is at 9%.
3. Predicted economic growth is .8% for the year.
4. Bush created $4 trillion in debt in 8 years; it took Obama only 2-1/2 years to do the same.
5. Obama has proposed another stimulus jobs spending program on top of the last failed one.
Such bad economic news is likely to create a stormy rather than a rosy scenario on which Democrats can place their 2012 re-election victory bets.
It goes without saying that a fundamental, ideological difference exists between Republicans and Democrats on how jobs are created, making conflict inevitable.
This nation, however, seems to be hurtling headlong into a situation, because of its massive debt, where it will no longer be possible to change course to avoid failure, as is being witnessed in Europe. It is impossible for a country to spend its way out of bankruptcy!
Will America likewise turn into a nanny state that is doomed to failure? More and more Americans have become so used to government as a provider that they are unwilling to receive less in benefits, failing to realize that without taking less future generations of Americans will be the losers.
Is there presently a Republican contender for president who can make mincemeat of Obama’s failed Keynesian economic policies?
Is there presently a Republican contender for president who can define the difference between the Republican free-market approach to creating jobs vs. Obama’s Keynesian suffocating government intervention policies?
Will the Republican Establishment publicly express views about the field of Republican presidential candidates, geared to influence how the public perceives the candidates, so the Establishment is able impose its choice upon voters in the 2012 elections? Sadly the declarations have already begun.
It is common place here in Illinois where the Republican Establishment has created and rules over a dysfunctional and ineffective Republican Party. The outcome: a failed and bankrupt Democratic-controlled state.
As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and others have recently remarked: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and again and to expect different results.”
Republican candidates running in county, state and national elections must be successful in convincing voters that massive cuts are needed to prevent the default of this nation — not more spending and resultant debt — or so help us God!
September 13, 2011
Excited and energized barely describes how I felt, as a Tea Party Patriot, when I received the Tea Party Express notice by e-mail that the Tea Party Express, along with more than 150 local tea party groups from every state across the country, were teaming up with CNN to co-host and submit questions to the eight Republican presidential candidates in front of a live audience in Tampa, Florida.
In that 150 local tea party groups from every state across the country were allowed to team up with CNN points to the undeniable truth that the power and influence of the tea party movement is a force to be reckoned with by the media, despite recent derogatory remarks geared to diminish the influence of the tea party in the 2012 elections.
As I turned on my TV to watch the debate, I was curious to see how long it would take before a question would be asked of Governor Rick Perry about his Social Security Ponzi scheme remark, which the mainstream media was only too eager to hype, after Perry made the controversial remark in a previous Republican debate at the President Reagan Library in CA.
Much has been made of the inappropriateness of Governor Perry’s remark and whether the other seven Republican candidates would heap ridicule upon Perry’s use of a Ponzi scheme in describing the nature of Social Security. Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney were described as the “to watch” candidates in the CNN debate.
I didn’t have to wait long for my curiosity to be satisfied, as the first question asked by a tea party member was: “How will you convince senior citizens that Social Security and Medicare need to be changed and still get their votes?”
Host Wolf Blitzer, as would be expected, directed the question first to Governor Perry, in what seemed like a setup to me. While Perry was responding to the question at hand by indicating that Social Security must be saved and reformed, this caption was running at the bottom of my TV screen:
“Ponzi – Now says he wants to reform Social Security without any harsh language, what’s changed.”
Host Wolf Blitzer, not one to let allow Governor Perry to duck what looked like the possibility of encouraging some harsh rhetoric against Perry from the other Republican presidential contenders, called Perry out on his Social Security Ponzi scheme remark by asking Perry to explain what he meant.
Governor Perry’s follow-through remark made sense to me. To paraphrase: Back 30 to 40 years ago did the government make all the right decisions? I think not. How Social Security was designed by Roosevelt in the 30’s needs to be fixed and reformed so it can continue into the future.
Despite Wolf Blitzer’s attempt to engage the other seven candidates in dumping upon Perry, he wasn’t all that successful when he proceeded to ask this question of each candidate, “Do you agree with Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?”
While Perry and Romney did have some exchanges which remained somewhat civil, none of the other candidates followed through or took the bait in heaping ridicule upon Perry for his Ponzi scheme remark. All admitted, however, that Social Security was broken and needed to be fixed.
Hermann Cain said that Social Security was broken, but he didn’t care what it was called. Ron Paul likewise remarked that Social Security was broken, how all the money had been spent, and that young people should be allowed to get out of social security and go it on their own. Newt Gingrich made an interesting comment, saying that he wasn’t concerned about how Perry and Romney might be frightening the American people, when Obama is frightening them every day.
Even Michelle Bachmann had no derogatory comments to say about Perry’s remark, as I had been led to believe would happen in watching Fox News during the day. Perhaps Michelle Bachmann listened to Rush Limbaugh when during his Monday show he warned the 2012 Republican field not to use Perry’s remarks against him, specifically naming Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney?
Although Rush Limbaugh has not endorsed anybody, he reminded his listeners that criticism of Perry’s Ponzi scheme remark could backfire. Rush then proceeded to read a list of many in politics who have referred to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, dating back to Paul Samuelson in 1967.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a Ponzi scheme as “an investment swindle in which some early investors are paid off with money put up by later ones in order to encourage more and bigger risks.”
Social Security began collecting taxes in 1937 and began in 1940 to pay their first benefit recipient, Ida May Fuller. Mr. Fuller worked for three years under the Social Security program before she retired. The Social Security taxes on her salary were $24.75; her initial monthly check was $22.54; and she lived to collect $22,888.92. Essentially, Ms. Fuller earned a spectacular 925% return on her investment.
As Governor Perry remarked when he penned an op-ed in the USA Today on Monday, Sept. 12: “Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion of the dire financial challenges facing the nearly 80-year-old program,” saying that the program needs to be reformed to make it “financially viable” younger workers.
Even if Gov. Perry is not your number one choice, it is not possible to deny that Social Security must be reformed. For younger workers it is especially important, as many already believe that Social Security will not be around for them when it’s time for them to retire.
September 10, 2011
With the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 so close at hand, all who were old enough to remember will recall where they were on that infamous day when al Qaeda terrorists created havoc, terror, and death on American soil using innocent men women and children as captives, in what became tombs of death in cabins of four commercial airliners.
How vividly I remember the occasion. The day before I had arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the start of a fourteen-day tour which also included the countries of Sweden and Norway. Scheduled for 9/11/2001 was a trip to visit Tivoli Gardens which was but a short walk from our hotel. As it happened, our gathering time at the hotel to visit Tivoli coincided with the impact of the first airliner into the North Tower of the World Trade Center back home.
Our hearts were heavy and filled with fear, away as we were from our beloved homeland, wondering what was happening back home, What should have been a night of fun exploring all that Tivoli had to offer, instead became a night of doom and gloom. All I could think of was when could I return to my hotel room to watch what was unfolding on CNN.
In that I was away from home during the tragic day of 9/11 and the following twelve days, I was only able to imagine what might be happening back home and how the senseless and brutal terrorists acts were affecting the psyches of the American people.
How well I remember a TIME magazine that one member of the tour group had managed to find and purchase. It became an instant hit as it was passed around on the tour bus and read by all. There was never a time during the next twelve days when all of us were not the eyes and ears for each another in our quest to learn all we could as we remained physically isolated from the site of the horror.
Returning to the present time on the eve of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, about a month ago a friend informed me of an event that was to take place on Thursday, September 8 at The Garlands Performing Arts Center in Barrington, IL, co-sponsored by the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, the Government Affairs Council & Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.
The title of the event, “Bagels, Politics & BIZ”, had as its subject matter, Pentagon Survivor Story: Lessons of 9/11 from Ryan Yantis. Mr. Yantis, a retired U.S. Army officer, resides in Crystal Lake, IL. He is the current executive of the Korean War National and was present for duty in the Pentagon during the attack and was subsequently decorated for his actions that day. As an army spokesman, Ryan Yantis facilitated hundreds of interviews with Army survivors, family members and leaders leading up to the first anniversary of the attack. http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanyantis
There was no hesitation on my part in immediately signing up to attend the Barrington event. It was what I yearned to hear, a first-hand account of one who had been directly involved in the attack against the Pentagon.
It does rankle me that there are some, including former Navy SEAL and Minnesota Governor and wrestler, Jesse Venturi, who still question whether the Pentagon was really hit by an airplane because evidence could not be shown in the thereafter of the engines or wings.
The tale that unfolded through Ryan Yantis’s slide presentation at The Garlands Performing Arts Center in Barrington was both dramatic and without question a credible account of the Pentagon’s targeted attack by terrorists on 9/11.
Lt. Ryan Yantis’s story was divided into three parts or mindsets: Sept. 10, Sept. 11 and Sept 12.
The U.S. was the sole global superpower; the focus was on domestic and defense reform, there was political division over the election of G.W. Bush (He’s not my president.); we were peacefully ignorant and unaware; and business was good.
The terrorists were unable to build a bomb big enough to create the type of havoc they desired to impose upon America because of their profound hatred toward this nation.
Instead, Al Queda was able to use this nation’s own doctrine against us by acting outside the preliminaries of our doctrine. Heretofore a hi-jacked plane was directed to another location to land and the passengers remained unharmed. Negotiation was not part of this nation’s hi-jacking policy.
The time line for the attack on the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) began at 0814 when American Flight 11 was hi-jacked and ended 32 minutes later when Flight 11 impacted the North Tower at 0846.
The entire unbelievable and unimagined scenario of four hi-jacked commercial flights being used as bombs by terrorists to spread fear and panic across America, with the thought always present of whether more would follow, took less time than it would take to view a feature film.
As Ryan Yantis related, the FAA did an amazing job. 4,500 flights were ordered to land, and they did, without any further losses of life.
In describing the Pentagon, Yantis spoke of the massive defense facility as a self-contained city with 20,000 workers. There are five floors above ground and a few below, 17 miles of corridors with 20,000 doors, all of which look alike. As a spokesman for the army, his group within the Pentagon handled calls to answer questions about American soldiers and polices, such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Yantis’s office was located off Corridor 6 on the 2nd floor.
What follows is Ryan Yantis’s incredible story:
From his office in the outermost ring of the Pentagon, Lt. Yantis watched on TV as the second plane hit the World Trade Center a little after 9 a.m. Initially Yantis perceived the crash of the first commercial airliner into the North Tower as no more than a fluke or a tragic mistake by the pilot, but not after he viewed the second commercial airliner ram into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. “We’re next,” Yantis thought. After 18 years in the military, Ryan Yantis was certain that the U.S. was under attack and that terrorists were going after visible symbols of American success. As such, the Pentagon was a known and despised symbol of America.
Lt. Yantis ordered a colleague of who was nine months pregnant to go home immediately. Yantis stayed, but just before 9:30 a.m. he left his office for a meeting, only to find out 15 minutes later when he reached the meeting place that American Airlines Flight 77 had struck the Pentagon building a few hundred yards away from his office.
Quickly running back to his own office in the Pentagon, Ryan Yantis found that his pregnant colleague was gone but also that his office was empty. What Yantis saw was smoke leaking through cracks in the ceiling created by the impact of the plane. Still haunting Ryan Yantis is his initial action which followed.
Entering the hallway Yantis was met by a surging wall of smoke, but instead of remaining inside the Pentagon to possibly offer immediate help, Yantis ran the other way toward the exit. Once outside Yantis made his way to where the plane had struck the Pentagon. He witnessed the Pentagon in flames, people streaming from the building, and pieces of shiny metal — the remains of the plane’s fuselage — sprinkled on the ground.
For the next four hours Ryan Yantis helped bring the injured out of stretchers, then helped to set up a press conference in the Pentagon’s press briefing room at which Donald Rumsfeld spoke to assure the American people that the Pentagon was still standing.
In the meantime search and rescue teams were being formed with individuals taking the initiative upon themselves, something they weren’t ordered to do or had to do.
Ryan Yantis returned to his home in Virginia at 10:30 p.m. on 9/11, reeking of sweat and smoke.
The total dead in the Pentagon bombing: 59 died on American Flight 77; 125 in the Pentagon (70 civilians and 55 military – Yantis knew four); 106 were severely injured; and hundreds others were wounded.
Ryan Yantis, awoke at 4:00 a.m. the next morning. Upon reporting back to work at the Pentagon, he found the Pentagon still burning.
What is not well known because of all the emphasis on New York City after 9/11 is the existence of “Camp Unity.” Both citizens and corporations stepped forward from the very first day, and, for three months after the attack, brought food and other supplies to those who were trying to bring order to the chaotic and grim situation. Tyson sent truckloads of food every other day. Haynes supplied free underwear.
Mr. Yantis spoke of the unity that only lasted a few weeks. He is still concerned that some still treat the terrorist acts of 9/11 as a law-enforcement issue.
Sept. 13th and beyond:
What were the lessons learned from 9/11? According to Ryan Yantis, this world is a different place. There will be hot and cold points along the way in our fight to hunt down terrorists who wish this nation harm, always remembering that law enforcement should not be employed as the way to deal with terrorists.
Ryan Yantis’s message to all as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was to Remember, Honor, Celebrate, and Support our Veterans.
In reflecting upon 9/11, there are many who say that too much is being made of 9/11. After all, the incident happened ten long years ago during which time this nation has remained free of attacks on our soil.
American, however, still remains a bulls eye target for terrorists. There should be no doubt in the minds of the American people given the announcement on Thursday, Sept. 8 that there is credible, but unconfirmed information that al Queda wants to strike either NYC or Washington, D.C. in and around the time of Sunday’s 9/11 anniversary.
This nation’s guard cannot be let down. Forgetting would be an acknowledgment that we as Americans have become so preoccupied with our own lives, that after ten long years without a successful attack on our soil, we have been lured into a false sense of security.
History does have a way of repeating itself. As a nation we have made good strides in intelligence gathering, but the terrorists only have to be successful once in what may be a string of many failed attempts.
It can happen again. Our vigil as a people and as a nation must continue unabated.