Now that you’ve seen the first 100 days, who would you have voted for, Barack or Josh?

I didn’t include McCain in this comparison because there’s no way to know what he actually would have done in the first 100 days. But we know what Obama did, and I know what I would have done, so here goes:

WAR
Here, Barack and I have opposing views.As you know, Bush signed a plan in the fall of 2008 to leave troops in Iraq another two and a half years, until the end of 2011, with many withdrawing in August 2010 (the same plan McCain supported).Barack:
During his campaign, Obama made “ending the Iraq War” and “bringing our troops home” a major theme. But after being elected, he has not ended the war. He recently announced he would follow Bush’s existing withdrawal timetable, but he has also said in recent speeches he might maintain an indefinite presence in Iraq- a complete about-face from his campaign position.

Obama attacked Pakistan three days into his presidency, and has since sent 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan, bringing the total to 60,000. He is carrying on the Bush/Cheney Doctrine of hunting suspected terrorists.

Obama’s 2009 budget calls for an increase in military spending, and he just requested $83 billion to continue funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (enough money to send 10 million disadvantaged children to a nice private school for four years).

Josh:
I am strongly against Obama’s continuation of the Iraq War. Even top military officials who supported the Iraq invasion initially have said there has been no real military or strategic objective to accomplish in Iraq for the last two years or so. The war continues to feed hundreds of billions into the coffers of the military-industrial complex and private military contractors (see “Iraq for Sale” documentary).

American soldiers continue to die, about one every other day since Obama took office. The U.S. continues to spend tens of billions per month. My nephew Jason is going to Iraq in a few months and will be in harm’s way due to Obama’s delay.

I also vehemently oppose Obama’s expansion of the Afghanistan War, which is already being called “Obama’s Vietnam”, and his attacks on Pakistan.

But is the Bush/Cheney Doctrine of pre-emptive attacks that Obama is following valid?

Although I’m sure we have killed many Taliban, it’s clear by CIA reports and common sense that with every Taliban we’ve killed we are giving their recruiters a gravy train of new applicants. Obama is providing the drive behind ever-increasing terrorist recruiting, funding and training efforts. Obama is making us less safe by continuing Bush’s warmongering policies.

I would stop terrorism at its source by cutting off funding and recruitment to the terrorists by removing their motivation. Upon taking office, I would immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. I would also close every non-essential U.S. military base around the world and bring those troops home. Today, after 100 days, all U.S. military personnel would be in the USA except for a very few strategic bases.

I would immediately refocus and reduce all miltary spending to the minimum needed to guarantee the safety of U.S. citizens within our borders and abroad, which would result in savings of hundreds of billions a year.

Also unlike Obama, who has blocked attempts to hold Bush, Cheney, Rove and other officials responsible for their criminal actions, I would bring them to trial. I believe no one is above the law.

ECONOMY:
Here, Barack and I are also diametrically opposed.

Barack:
Immediately on taking office, Barack pushed a gigantic “stimulus” bill of almost $800 billion. After promising “I will listen, especially when we disagree” during the campaign, Obama did an instant reversal and pronounced those who disagreed with his huge spending bill “irresponsible”.

Currently, Obama’s administration is spending trillions to bail out Wall street firms, banks, automakers, insurers, and many other huge, obsolete, well-connected corporations who made major campaign contributions. It is by far the biggest corporate welfare campaign in history, dwarfing the S&L scandals in the 80’s.

After Bush brought the national debt to an irresponsible, all-time high in 2008 with a deficit topping $700 billion, Obama, in his first year, is going to sink us another $1.8 trillion in debt.

And after Obama’s many speeches emphasizing transparency in government, his administration, his Treasury department and the Federal Reserve refuses to tell anyone where the money is going. Unbelievable but absolutely true. NO ONE KNOWS in whose hands these trillions are ending up. They won’t return phone calls, letters or emails from Congressional oversight groups. They won’t disclose the recipients to the press or citizen watchdog groups.

Over $10.5 trillion so far has been earmarked for “special economic spending”. That’s about $160,000 for every taxpaying household to eventually pay back- with interest.

Josh:
I am very strongly opposed to Obama’s economic strategies. Our economy has been brought to the brink of collapse through the irresponsibility of our elected “leaders”.

After the $10.5 trillion is spent, the crisis will be worse, and rather than admitting the bailouts did not solve it, Obama’s administration will make the argument that not enough was spent, and ask for more, and more, and more, until, like all empires in history, Roman, Persian, British, we will spend ourselves into hopeless bankruptcy and ruin.

While Obama shovels trillions of of working families’ money to huge corporations, I would do the opposite. I frankly couldn’t care less about huge corporations. The only thing I care about are the people who have lost their jobs and can’t find decent work. As long as people find it easy enough to find good jobs or start businesses and hire others, I honestly don’t care whether huge corporations live or die.

At least six million jobs have been lost so far in this crisis, and since these people have no income, companies who normally provide these folks with goods and services must lay people off, leading to more unemployed, and so the economic death spiral continues. All the trillions in bailouts and stimulus spending haven’t, and won’t stop the rise in unemployment for reasons that are patently obvious. We’re in for a rocky next ten years if the present course of stupidity continues, similar to the 1930’s.

But since government got us into this mess, I would propose one last government program to fix the situation.

Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Karen Mills, chosen by Obama to head the Small Business Administration, said “Small business is at the heart of the economy. They create 70% of the new jobs each quarter”. She’s right.

Small business is 100% focused on helping people- if they don’t provide a valuable product or service, they go out of business- quickly. No one bails small business out.

So I would immediately halt all bailouts of huge corporations, and instead, offer to pay 75% the salary of any person hired by a small business for one year. I would also permanently waive all taxes for that new employee.

Craigslist and help wanted websites would light up like crazy within 15 minutes of this bill passing. Small businesses would be tripping over each other trying to hire and train people in REAL jobs that provide valuable goods and services, not wasteful busywork. With everyone fully employed, the financial crisis would be over in a few weeks. Problem solved.

Of the 6 million out of work, assuming they had the US average salary of about $40K, this would cost about $240 billion. This is a tiny fraction- 2.4%- of the $10.5 trillion committed to “solving this crisis.” It’s obvious job creation is not the object of these huge expenditures, if it were, the crisis would be over right now.

Once the economy had stabilized, I would bring some REAL change to Washington, including abolishing the Federal Reserve (that has drained 96% of the value of the U.S. dollar since it was founded), abolishing the IRS, paying off the national debt once and for all, making the fractional reserve system illegal and restoring a sound money system.

EDUCATION
Once we stop killing people and stop spending ourselves into oblivion, education would be my top priority. My philosophy is that every child, even children of the poorest families in the U.S., deserve an excellent level of education- on a par with the wealthiest.

If you want to keep a sector of the population poor, the best way to do that is to try and keep them uneducated. And the public school system has done a wonderful job of that.

The U.S. spends more on education per student than any country in the world. The worst areas, such as Washington DC, spend the most. So obviously money is not the problem. Yet inner city schools are little more than day jails. A friend of mine substitute-teaches at high schools in Compton. He says classes there have no lesson plan, no subject. What he finds is a room of high school kids who can barely sound out written words. He spends his time there trying to teach 15 – 18 year olds to read English.

The solution is obvious. Barack knows what good education is, he sends his daughters to a private school, the same as practically every other rich family. Yet he has just pulled the plug on a Washington D.C. program that allowed thousands of kids in districts with non-functional schools to go to a private school, dooming these kids to a life without the advantage of a decent education that well-to-do families have.

This is a giant step backwards for these children and sends a message of despair to poor families across the U.S. that had the hope that they too would be given a choice.

I would immediately offer families with incomes in the bottom 50% the choice to continue to attend public school, or switch to a nice private school.

The beauty of this plan is that, since the vouchers would be for less than what the U.S. currently spends per student for public schools, the more families shift their kids to a private school, the more money per student public schools would have, which is something they of course want.

High quality private schools would spring up like flowers in a desert. Within a few years, the education problems plaguing America for a century would be solved.

Barack is anti-choice when it comes to education, I am pro-choice. How about you?

GAY RIGHTS
I think it’s reprehensible that this is even an “issue.” Discrimination against anyone for any reason should be illegal and goes against the intent of the Constitution.

Barack and I disagree here as well:

Barack:
“Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Barack has not shown the gay community he supports their efforts for equality. Rather than pushing for a constitutional amendment, he will do nothing, leaving marriage equality to the states..

Josh:
“Marriage is between any people wanting to make a lifetime commitment.”

I would push for a Federal law that made it a crime for any governmental or private entity to deny any type of license or benefit based on gender or orientation. I would immediately end “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

—-

There are many more issues that we are opposites on, but I had to put these thoughts down and get them out there and get back to work :-). So far, who would you have voted for?

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