“Anybody But Hillary”…

“Say something often enough and people will believe it.”

I’m not sure who originally said the quote above but it is certainly true during the current presidential campaign. But if you step back and look at the facts it often tells you a different story. The below words are from Red Letter Christians by Kathy Vestal. She has managed to address almost all the things in a small number of words that most people criticize Hillary for. (I hate blah, blah, blah..) :

2016-10-18_08-18-16.pngTake, for example, Benghazi. Exactly what did Hillary do? What should she have done? It’s hard for most of us to say. And it’s easy to forget that, during the George W Bush administration, there were 13 attacks on embassies and consulates, and 60 deaths. Or that in 2011 Hillary, then Secretary of State, warned Republicans that their proposed budget cuts to her State Department would be “detrimental to America’s national security.”

But we have been told, over and over again, that Hilary failed Benghazi. We’ve heard it so many times it sounds reasonable.

And then the emails. According to Newsweek Magazine, between the years of 2003 and 2009, the Bush administration “lost” 22 million emails, many likely pertaining to the controversial Iraq War. I think I can understand  how this might happen, and how you and I might make that same choice.

Let’s bring this down to a level we can understand. What if someone hacked into your personal or work email server, and all of your emails were now accessible to the public? Would you go in and try to delete before others found them? I would….

Many other attempts to discredit her have been tried. Her husband’s infidelity. Her religion (Yes, she’s Christian).   I even read once that she missed Chelsea’s first day of school, making her not only an unfit president but an unfit mother. By all indications, Chelsea is a well-adjusted, intelligent, and promising young woman whose relationship with her parents is admirable…

But I like Hilary because she’s tough and smart. She has proven she can stand up through public humiliation, through the tensest of partisan opposition. She understands foreign policy. She understands diplomacy and how to interact with world powers. She knows what the presidency entails. And as the Obamas have said repeatedly, she is more experienced and qualified for the presidency than any other candidate of either party in our lifetime.

After years of “Anybody But Hilary,” it may be hard for Americans to really see the first female nominee of a major US party. But we who follow the red letters of Scripture should look again. Jesus looked at those he was taught to despise–the Samaritan, the woman at the well–and saw their gifts. The gifts of the despised, Jesus showed us, are sometimes the only thing that can save us.

Source: Red Letter Christians

They say Hillary is not trustworthy and that is why many don’t like her.  I will admit that she doesn’t have the charisma that often is associated with our president. She is not the “good old boy” that her husband was.  She is not a back slapper that George W was.  She does not have the “simplistic” characteristics of Reagan.  She is a wonk who concentrates on the best way to solve problems. Does that make her untrustworthy?  Maybe to some, but in the end that is what makes a good president in my mind. I never liked LBJ very much as a person but the things he accomplished as president were extraordinary.

I don’t mind telling you that when I voted early yesterday I did not even slightly hesitate when it came to the presidential selection.  There was no choice in my mind.  “It had to be Hillary”.

A Bad President Can Do An Enormous Amount Of Damage…

I’m sure I am not the only one to see this presidential election as the strangest of all the fourteen I have voted in. And I’m also sure that I am not the only one who is planning to vote for the least of two evils. The source article below proves that fact:

2016-09-04_15-14-49.pngI’m far more frightened about a Trump presidency than I am enthusiastic about a Clinton presidency. And why shouldn’t I be? The prospect of Donald Trump being the most powerful human being on Planet Earth is genuinely terrifying…. Among other things, Trump is impulsive, ignorant, vain, petty, bigoted, insecure, and possessed of an almost pathological narcissism. Every president faces crises during which the lives of large numbers of people, both in America and around the world, depend on that one individual’s judgment and calm. It’s little exaggeration to say that in the wrong circumstances, Trump’s copious personality defects could result in absolute cataclysm.

So when 80 percent of Trump supporters and 62 percent of Clinton supporters tell pollsters they’d be “scared” if the other candidate won, but only 29 percent of Trump supporters and 27 percent of Clinton supporters say they’d feel “excited” if their candidate won, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, even a great president won’t turn America into Shangri-La in four or eight years, but a bad president can do an enormous amount of damage in the same time. And that’s more than a good enough basis on which to decide your vote.

Source: Why voting out of disgust is as American as apple pie

I have pretty much read about all the presidents in my life time. LBJ was pretty much a bully who liked to intimate those around him.  He got off on yielding power. He was one one of my least favorite presidents but he did get a lot of important things done. There was the Great Society, Civil Rights Acts, and Medicare. He was not a great person but he accomplished great things. And then there was the Vietnam war…

Even though Nixon was a very paranoid person he also accomplished quite a bit in office. That is until Watergate brought him down.  Reagan was a dichotomy of sorts. He ran on a balanced budget but in reality spent like a drunk sailor.  His extreme spending on military things is what caused the Soviet Union to collapse and that was temporarily a good thing.  George W. Bush ran as a compassionate conservative and on a business platform but the stock market was actually considerable lower and in much worse shape when he left office than when he started and he proved to be anything but compassionate.  I can’t really say that he accomplished anything that I thought worthwhile during his time. And then there were the two wars and resulting “off the book” spending that drove deficits ever higher.

Obama was the one that I pinned my hopes on to turn things around. He seemed like a compassionate guy but in reality he has been merciless in his deporting immigrants and seemingly indiscriminate killing with drones. And then there are the two continuous wars that seems impossible for him to get us out of…

What I have learned from my fourteen times voting for president is that you don’t have to like the person you are voting for but you do need to at least tolerate  what they stand for.  I can say there is not a single thing about Trump that makes me want to vote for him.

So here I am voting for the least of two evils again…. 63 days and counting until this madness ends…. Thank God….

 

About Our Defense Budgets… An Historic Perspective..

2015-03-25_14-59-11Total U.S. defense spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has increased so much over the past decade that it has reached levels not seen since World War II, when the United States had 12 million people under arms and waged wars on three continents. Moreover, the U.S. share of global military expenditures has jumped from about one-third to about one-half in this same period. Some of this growth can be attributed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the baseline or regular defense budget has also increased significantly. It has grown in real terms for an unprecedented 13 straight years, and it is now $100 billion above what the nation spent on average during the Cold War. The fiscal year 2012 budget request of $553 billion is approximately the same level as Ronald Reagan’s FY 1986 budget. As a result of this “gusher” of defense spending—to quote former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates—Pentagon leaders have not been forced to make the hard choices between competing programs as they traditionally have. And the ballooning defense budget played a significant role in turning the budget surplus projected a decade ago into a massive deficit that forces the U.S. government to borrow 43 cents of every dollar it spends. As the nation attempts to bring this massive deficit—which chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen calls the greatest threat to our security—under control, leaders from both parties recognize that these unprecedented levels of defense expenditures cannot be maintained. The question currently facing Congress and President Barack Obama—how much to spend on defense in times of large deficits or in the final years of a war—is not new. Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had to identify reasonable levels of defense expenditures as the United States transitioned from war spending to peacetime budgets, while President Ronald Reagan needed to control defense spending in the face of rising deficits. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush confronted both scenarios at once, like President Obama today.

SOURCE: A Historical Perspective on Defense Budgets | Center for American Progress.

In looking at the chart above it is obvious that two American presidents are primarily responsible for most of our outrageous military spending. I don’t think I have to tell you which ones those are. Sadly, for the most part those increases in spending were matters of choice. Yes, the Iron Curtain was up for one president but it had been up long before he came into office.  Yes, a rag-tag bunch of fanatics managed to kill three thousand of our citizens with some box cutters but in the world scheme of things  more people than that have died daily in the world from lack of food and drinking water. If we had just gone after the rogues instead of invading nations that had nothing to do with the tragedy our military expenses would never have risen to such mammoth levels.

Can we continue to spend such levels in these times of rising deficits? Aren’t the deficits causing us more harm than the enemies we are supposedly facing. Fear just seem to be the primary driver of our nation today. We have long forgotten one of our most meaningful American quotes “All we have to fear is fear itself”. We need to just get over this paranoid fear that has come to grip us so  forcefully…

Will Our Gushing Military Spending Ever End?

I know there are many of U.S. citizens who have never known a time when our military spending did not dwarf everything else in our discretionary spending budgets. We just seem to be a nation that wants to be policemen of the world. We want to put our noses into every conflict we can find.  It doesn’t matter that in places like Iraq and Afghanistan they have been having the same battles for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. We just can’t seem to find a conflict that we think we stay out of or can’t solve with our military might.

Only those of us over the age of forty have ever know a time when our military budgets haven’t dominated everything else. But in reality the vast majority of our over-blown war spending can be attributed to just two presidents, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.  here is a little more about this. Check on the source to see the entire article.

2015-03-25_14-59-11

Total U.S. defense spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has increased so much over the past decade that it has reached levels not seen since World War II, when the United States had 12 million people under arms and waged wars on three continents. Moreover, the U.S. share of global military expenditures has jumped from about one-third to about one-half in this same period…. The ballooning defense budget played a significant role in turning the budget surplus projected a decade ago into a massive deficit that forces the U.S. government to borrow 43 cents of every dollar it spends. As the nation attempts to bring this massive deficit—which chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen calls the greatest threat to our security—under control, leaders from both parties recognize that these unprecedented levels of defense expenditures cannot be maintained. The question currently facing Congress and President Barack Obama—how much to spend on defense in times of large deficits or in the final years of a war—is not new. Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had to identify reasonable levels of defense expenditures as the United States transitioned from war spending to peacetime budgets, while President Ronald Reagan needed to control defense spending in the face of rising deficits. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush confronted both scenarios at once, like President Obama today.

SOURCE:  A Historical Perspective on Defense Budgets | Center for American Progress.

Given that historically we can and have reduced our military spending. It just takes a different point of view to make that happen. I don’t think that the GOP’s combination of inert fear of others and the bravado of getting the bad guys will go away anytime soon but historically we can almost count on that eventually happening again.  The big question as to when, is all about when  we as voters finally realize that we fear way too much and we can’t solve thousand-year old tribal battles on the other side of the world with our million dollar plus smart bombs and drones. It is very possible to drastically reduce our military spending with little or no difference to our security. It just takes more voters at the polls who realize that possibility.