Tag Archives: Obama

My Take on Syria

I know that many people who I respect intellectually disagree with me.  I don’t know that I am right.  Nonetheless, I feel somewhat compelled to comment on such an important topic as whether the United States should strike Syria.  So here goes…

First – my background.  I served in the United States Air Force and was willing to put my own life on the line for my country.  I served in political advisor positions for around twenty years, working for both Democrats and Republicans during that time.  I think my experience gives me a good perspective.

The reasons for a strike seem to come down to four:  1)  chemical weapons usage cannot be tolerated; 2) President Obama declared a red-line on their use and if nothing is done he will lose authority overseas; 3) the protection of civilians; and 4) if America does nothing it impacts our national security by encouraging other regimes to break international treaties on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Respect – I am going to take those out of order.  No elected official should ever draw a line in the sand or declare a red line.  It’s the stupidest thing you can do.  It gives your negotiating authority to the opponent.  If they call you on it, you are either forced to do what you said or to back down.  I am not for killing people, destroying things, putting our people in harm’s way, etc., to save face for a member of either party.  Sometimes you make a mistake and you cut your losses.  If you said you would do something and you won’t, just stop while you’re behind.  The first rule of holes – when you find yourself in one, stop digging.

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Chemical Weapons Usage – The first argument is the most valid.  If we were part of an international force that was going to Syria to destroy or confiscate all chemical weapons and apprehend those who ordered them to stand trial for crimes against humanity, I would say YES.  But we aren’t.  The fact is that no other country agrees with us.  France is willing to pat us on the back, but not help militarily.  Further, we aren’t getting rid of the weapons or the people who used them.  We’re throwing a few missiles at them and not accomplishing anything.

The evidence of the chemical weapon attacks is not clear to me either.  At first, I was convinced the attacks had occurred.  I am even thinking they did.  However, attacking another sovereign country is an act of war which requires a strong causus belli.  The initial photos I saw of body bags were in fact taken from Kurds killed by Saddam Hussein years ago.  At that time, Obama, Clinton and Kerry opposed getting involved.  Where was the trumpet call to punish chemical weapons when whole Kurdish villages were exterminated in Iraq?  The other evidence included a spent artillery shell “like the ones used for chemical weapons.”  Well, if you can take a picture of a whole shell, you can swab it for chemical residue.  There are supposed to be at least 1400 dead.  What about them?  What about the survivors?  Can’t they be tested?  I didn’t really give enough cynicism about the government position until someone asked, “Should Hillary Clinton let us know if this was the result of a video on YouTube.”  If they have not been forthcoming on the atack on Libya that actually killed Americans in our own embassy, why do I blindly trust unsubstantiated reports now?

Even if there were chemical weapons used in violation of global law… If no other country cares, how is America going to enforce it by launching some missiles?  It’s really sad, but if the world does not want to enforce the chemical weapons ban – there is no ban.  The world did not enforce the nuclear non-proliferation treaty either, now North Korea has nukes and Iran is soon to follow.  Nuclear weapons scare me a lot more than an artillery shell of chemical weapons in a civil war.  We did nothing about those countries either.

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Deaths – Less than 2,000 Syrians are purported to be killed by chemical weapons.  Over 100,000 died in the civil war from other weapons.  We will kill more if we attack with missiles.  What lives will we save?  Why did we let the massacres occur in other countries like Rwanda then?  What about the 100,000 Christians killed world-wide last year because of their beliefs?  What about the 1,000 Christians killed in Syria this year?  We won’t save any lives, we will add to the list.  If we don’t get rid of the chemical weapons, they can use them again, or just blast civilians with conventional weapons.  After all, in a civil war, the enemy is the civilians.  If they were military, they would work for the Assad regime.

National Security – Syria has virtually no national security interest to the United States.  The lynch pins of peace in the Middle East are Turkey and Egypt.  Both of which are in turmoil yet we do nothing to help stabilize them.  Israel is our only clear ally.  Oil countries can impact our economic interests by driving up world prices.  We could help the oil situation if we did not regulate and prevent domestic energy production, but until we stop shooting ourselves in the foot, oil is important.  Syria is none of those things.  Killing their own people brutally is horrible, but does not seem to effect our national security in any way.

So, I guess I reject the arguments for intervention.  Now some reasons I oppose it:

Reasons to go to War – In Afghanistan we had a government in the Taliban training and housing Al Queda that not only attacked us but declared war on us.  Both the Taliban and their terrorist guests declared war and took action against us so we went in.  I wish we did not do ‘nation building’ but going in made sense to me.  In Iraq, we had a country that invaded another – Kuwait and WAS condemned by the United Nations and had a huge coalition go in to stop them.  The national security concern was that Iraq would control too much of the world oil and that Saudi Arabia would be their next target.  They had already fought a long war with Iran, used chemical weapons, and tortured people, but yes, it was a war for oil.  At the end, a truce was called.  Iraq violated the truce, and we went back to finish it.  We should have finished it the first time, and again, the nation building does not work.  Those are real wars with real national security concerns.

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Repercussions – 1)  If I was Syria, why would I just take missile strikes and not fight back?  Why not send some missiles into Israel, or destabilize Jordan?  I would do something, what have I got to lose after all?  2) If I am Russia, and my only remaining foreign-based naval base and my best trading partner was attacked, what would I do?  Especially since I just sent a naval task force to help them.  3)  If I am Iran, why not get involved?  4)  If I am Afghanistan or Iraq and America is leaving, why not choose now to act up?  5)  If I am Egypt, why not act up more?  6)  If I am Turkey, and my leadership backs the rebels, why not get involved?

More repercussions – What if someone sinks one of our ships?  What if Assad uses more chemical weapons after we hit?  What if we really cut loose and help the America-hating Islamist revolutionaries take over the country bordering Israel?  What if the conflict widens and it expands out of control like WW1 that all started with assassination and countries afraid to lose face and back down?

Now, that brings us back to the decision to use force or not.  How many American lives are you willing to spend to go it alone in the world and attack Syria over a purported chemical strike that killed 1,400 people?  What is victory?  What is our exit strategy?  What will we achieve?  Are we simply going to unite the Islamic world against us, or at the very least make Assad look like a hero for standing up to us?

This is my thought process and why I oppose striking Syria at this time.

Someone just reminded me – President Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize when he entered office for all the reset to American foreign policy he was going to make to get us out of wars and have the world love us again.  Sigh.

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Did the History Channel Intentionally Make Satan Look Like Obama?

I don’t agree with this President, or any other President since Reagan on much of anything.  However, I would not portray them as Satan.  I hope this was not done intentionally.  I don’t see as much resemblance as people are trying to say there is though.  You decide.  Here is the picture, and one of many stories about it below.

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‘The Bible’ creators, History Channel deny show’s Satan resembles President Obama

Published March 18, 2013

FoxNews.com

  • bible obama devil split 660.jpg

    Some viewers said it looked like actor Mehdi Ouzaani (left) was made up to look like President Obama (right) for his role as Satan (center). (Cinemamarocain.net / History / Reuters)

The creators of the miniseries “The Bible” and the network that airs it are denying reports that the character Satan intentionally resembles President Barack Obama.

The couple behind the show, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, dismissed what they called “foolish” reports that their show’s villain looked like the President.

“This is utter nonsense. The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor,” they said in a statement sent to FOX 411. “He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics– including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.”

Downey added: “Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”

The History Channel set out to put an end to the rumors, saying the show aims to feature “a diverse cast of respected actors.”

“History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” the network said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s ‘The Bible’ is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”

After Sunday night’s episode, scores of viewers took to Twitter to note a resemblance between the show’s Satan character and President Barack Obama.

“That guy playing Satan in ‘the Bible’… does resemble the president,” one user wrote. “I would hope it wasn’t intentional, but who knows.”

Another quipped: “Did anyone else notice that Satan spoke like Nacho Libre and looked just like Obama? #thebible”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/03/18/bible-creators-history-channel-deny-show-satan-resembles-president-obama/?intcmp=features#ixzz2O1MtYthS

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The Constitution – What Does it Mean to You?

I know I have thousands of people visit this site from outside the United States, so this is mainly for the people here in the US, but I would welcome your perspective as well.  In 1776, a group of predominately Free Masons met regularly to discuss big thoughts.  The biggest was mankind’s inate right to be free.  They decided to go to war with the most powerful, largest empire in the history of the world – The British Empire, in order to put in practice their revolutionary ideals.  They wrote a summary of their opinions in what is now called The Declaration of Independence.  The key phrase being:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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They went further to state that government was created to serve the people, not the other way around.  That if government stopped serving the people, not only did people have a right to rebel, but they had an obligation to overthrow tyranny.  Thomas Paine sent these thoughts in longer form to the masses in Common Sense, which became the literary rallying cry of the people.  You must remember, that up until this time, for thousands of years, Emperors, Kings, Shahs, Warlords and the like were the way countries were ruled, and many believed in the divine right of monarchs.  Class systems of a ruling hierarchy with a permanent lower caste were accepted as the way things were.  To actually espouse that people were to be free and government served them was turning the world upside down.

These people went on to win, and to form the United States of America.  George Washington, who his whole life had been extremely ambitious, was so changed by the war that he turned down the offer to be King.  He agreed only to be President, with limited powers.

On May 25, 1787, the colonies agreed to the Constitution.  The most important feature of the Constitution is this:

The Constitution limits the government.  It says all power is with the people themselves EXCEPT those powers expressly given to the federal government.  It only limits government, not people.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

On September 25, 1789, two years after the Constitution was enacted by the colonies to form a central government, the first Congress proposed 12 amendments.  The first two were not ratified, but 3 to 12 were.  These became our first 10 amendments, also referred to as the Bill of Rights.  Even though the Constitution was established to limit government, just two years later, most felt that government had to be limited even more specifically.  Again, all the Bill of Rights limit what government can do, not what people can do.  Here is a key phrase:

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The tenth amendment clearly states that if a specific power is not given to the federal government, then it is left to the states, or to the people.

CRITICAL ISSUE

Why is this important?  Today, there are two major schools of thought, strict constructionists and loose constructionists.  Strict constructionists tend to be conservatives who believe that the Constitution is a brilliant document and should be followed to the letter.  It preserves the rights of the people and protects against tyranny.  They read The Federalist Papers, a series of explanations on why the Constitution, our form of government, and each of the amendments was passed and its purpose.  These were written by our founding fathers to inform their fellow citizens of their thinking.

Loose constructionists believe the Constitution was good for its time, but it is dated, and seriously flawed.  These tend to be liberal jurists and politicians.  They often advocate using international law and modern culture to make decisions, and view the Constitution as a “living document” that they can change or ignore for modern circumstances.  In a 2001 Chicago Public Radio Interview, Barrack Obama (When he was a law professor and community activist) said that, “The Constitution reflected fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.”  You can here that comment here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11OhmY1obS4

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President Obama has also stated that the Constitution is flawed because it says what government can’t do, but not what it can do.  Strict constructionists do not view that as a flaw, but as the intended strength and core of the document.

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU

The second amendment guarantees your right to bear arms.  The founding fathers put this amendment in so that if government got out of hand, people could rise up and rebel.  The right to bear arms was the right to overthrow a corrupt government.  The British tried to suppress the rebels by collecting their weapons and stopping them training as a militia.  That is how the first battles at Lexington and Concord came about.  British troops were sent to collect people’s weapons and to stop them training as a military unit on the common greens.  That is a sobering thought, that we are allowed weapons so we can take over our government.  And yet, our “loose constructionists” support this same idea when they give arms and support to rebels in Libya, Egypt and Syria to overthrow their corrupt governments.  They support the second amendment for others, but not for us.

If you don’t like the second amendment and find it outdated, their is a process to change it.  However, to avoid this, the federal government is seeking to curtail the ability to purchase and own weapons despite the constitutional guarantee.  Is the Constitution outdated and can the government simply ignore it?

Healthcare reform is also in my opinion a clear violation of the tenth amendment.  So is the Federal Department of Education.  There is no authority under the Constitution for the federal government to run health programs or education programs.  Those are reserved to the individual states and the people.  Do you care?

The loose constructionists major argument is that the government can be trusted and people cannot be.  People cannot own guns, because they will kill others.  People cannot understand healthcare and will be ripped off, so the government needs to step in.  People cannot buy plumbing that wastes water.  People cannot buy lightbulbs that are not efficient.  People cannot buy cars with better mileage.  People cannot choose the best school for their children.  Government is the answer to protect people from their own dumb decisions.

Strict constructionists believe people can decide their own lives and use of money better.  Even if people do make stupid decisions, it is their life and their God given right to do so.  They believe that government is the problem, taking more and more money, controlling more and more of our lives, and only interested in its own growth.  They view having bureaucrats and do-gooders running their lives as the whole reason we rebelled from Britain in the first place.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  DO YOU CARE?

LetFreedomRing

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Brainwashing Yourself

As I see the political posts and commentary online and on Facebook, and see the reaction to the Presidential Debate, it made me think about why things are as they are.  At first, reactions did not make sense, until I took a step back.

When I was young there were only three channels – ABC, NBC and CBS.  That is if your antennae and bunny ears on your set could get all three.  There was no cable, dish, tivo, dvr, netflix, etc.  In fact, there were not even beta or dvd at the time.  You went to the movie theater or you could watch that movie three years later on the “world television premier.”  Back then, the major networks had News programs that were left wing biased.  On average, about 60-65% of them voted Democrat.  However, the whole country watched them, so to keep complaints down, they had more balanced news.  Their “commentators” were left, but their “news department” was only slightly left.  Most people heard the same news.  Radio was mostly AM and played music.  Talk radio was mostly Christian channels.  This led to a certain “shared basis” for debates.  People were passionate left and right, but not polarized on facts.

Today, we have the Internet, cable, on demand TV, so, so many choices.  We have talk radio, tons of stations.  ABC, NBC and CBS, especially MSNBC are only watched for the most part by the left.  A recent poll showed over 95% of the staff at their news departments support Democrat only candidates.  With the right wing audience going to talk radio, the Internet, or FoxNews, the left biased has grown until watching those channels is impossible for right wingers.  At the same time, FoxNews has dual programming.  It has news – with maybe a 55% right bias, but it has commentators like O’Reilly and Hannity, that are 100% right wing.  Most casual observers don’t distinguish between their news segments and their commentator segments.

Left Wing Propaganda

 

Right Wing Propaganda

Talk radio is mostly right wing.  There is National Public Radio (NPR) called by the right wing national pink radio due to its left wing bias.  However, most left wing politicos now get their news from far left Internet sites like Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast or Moveon.org.  Right wing politicos go to FoxNews, the Heritage Fund, The Blaze, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, etc.  The news coverage by these sites are night and day.  They describe two entirely different realities.

So, the Presidential debate.  Everyone agrees Obama faired poorly.  My liberal friends had two chants – 1) Romney lied; and 2) Obama was not to blame.  Although they said Romney lied and “acted” it did not seem that way to me, and they were short on specifics.  Obama was either too tired, the air was too thin in Denver, Jim Lehrer did bad, Kerry did not prep him well, and so on.  None said, Romney won and Obama blew it.  So, I wondered, why?

When I was CFO for the Department of Health Services, our Chief Psychiatrist told me, when someone says something, no matter how much you disbelieve it, start with the premise that they think they are telling the truth.  So, I put myself in a liberal’s life.  If all I do is go to left sites for my news, then Obama is the second coming and is the most polished and brilliant speaker ever, very inspirational and smart.  Romney is waging a war on women, wants to kill off old people by getting rid of Medicare, and wants to give banks and rich people tax cuts.

This explains it.  In that environment, Obama had to have some outside reason for debating poorly, it could not have been his fault.  Romney must be lying when he says he is not cutting rich taxes and not cutting Medicare.  Because liberals have heard he is over and over.

As a conservative, I hear all the time about Obama’s mistakes and I hear Romney’s actual positions.  I watch the debate and see a President who is not used to anyone questioning him or calling him a failure, so he does not know how to respond.  After four years of adoration and a loving mainstream media, to be challenged by Romney is shocking and beneath him to respond.  I don’t think Romney is lying, because Romney is saying the same positions I have heard for over a year.  Not the ones my liberal friends were told by their news sources, but the ones Romney has posted on his own website and has consistently stated.

This I believe is a dangerous side effect to so many choices for information.  We seek out those who only agree with us.  I do not watch Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh.  I agree with much of what they say, but they are propagandists for the right.  For the same reason, I encourage my left wing friends not to listen to Kos, Daily Beast, MSNBC or Moveon.org.  They are propagandists for the left.  We all need to listen to the candidates themselves, to their websites, and make our own decisions.  The polarization of information is making us into left and right wing robots unable to intelligently discuss items with each other.  We no longer have any common facts or information.  We each do a disservice to ourselves when we “brainwash ourselves” by listening to only one side.

I spent 20 years as a professional in politics.  Seven years as a senior staffer for Democrats, seven years as a senior staffer, including Chief of Staff for the Speaker of the House for Republicans.  Six years I spent as a lobbyist and campaign consultant for both parties.  I know both sides well and have written talking points and made charts and graphs for both.  I continue to look for information and try to make up my own mind, not let either side “spin me” as I have spun others for two decades.

Why am I right wing?  I am a Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist (Church of Christ), I served in the military, and I have an advanced degree in Economics.  I am inspired by the writing of Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, The Federalist Papers, Paine’s Common Sense, and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  I discard Keynesian economic theory and instead believe in monetary policy of Milton Friedman and supply-side economics, though I disagree with Art Laffer quite a bit.  Growing up, the split between God believers in the Democrat and Republican parties was roughly 50/50.  Today, over 90% of believers are conservatives, over 90% of atheists are liberal.  Pro-military – again used to be split, now conservatives.  Pro-capitalist, anti-Keynsian economics – now almost 100% conservative.  I have been pushed over to be conservative by those three fundamental beliefs.

Still, I worked for Democrats as well as Republicans because I still believe in the individual politician, their viewpoints, beliefs and integrity over party.  Please join me in always listening and learning both sides.  Know why you believe what you do.  Don’t just soak up the propaganda from those you agree with.  Don’t demonize the opposition, say they are stupid, racists, or ignorant.  The country is split roughly down the middle.  I don’t for a minute believe half the people are stupid or racist.  I do believe that about 80-90% ONLY get their news and information from propagandists on one side or the other.  Don’t brainwash yourself.

 

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Want to Track the Presidential Election?

There are several sites you can go to that keep maps of how states are leaning either to Obama or Romney, based on the latest polls for those states.  These charts keep track of solid, leaning and toss up states.  Here is one such link:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/2012_elections_electoral_college_map.html

This one is done by Realclearpolitics.  I don’t really know if they lean right or left but the map seems to match most of the others on the other sites.  I do see adds for Obama on the right bar, and Huffington Post at the bottom, so if it leans it must be to the left.  If you want another map, just Google “political map 2012 Presidential election.”  If you click on a state, it will show you the trend in the state polling.  You can also see the overall trend or margin for all states on a blue line.  You can even make your own guesses on states and make your own map to guess the outcome.

It adds a bit of fun and knowledge into the campaign to be able to intelligently speak to your friends about why Ohio is a linch-pin state and how Wisconsin polling may be affected by the Ryan selection, etc.

Have fun and enjoy, and remember, try to listen to each other, not just blast out your opinion.  Let’s disagree agreeably.

By the way, one thing that bothers me and I don’t know if the rest of you remember this, but Blue was the Republican color when I was growing up and every Republican including George W. Bush had Blue campaign signs.  Democrats had RED signs.  But then someone on TV, decided to reverse the colors, so now red states are Republican and blue states are Democrat and it still annoys me.  It would be like saying from now on boy babies wear pink and girl babies blue.  Maybe it’s just me, but stop changing the colors.

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Should Obama Pick a New Running Mate?

This is a question not of whether you agree with Obama or not, Democrat or not, or any side issue.  The question is, “Do you think Obama would have a better chance to win with someone other than Biden as VP?”

Let us go back to why Biden was picked.  Biden was the older, more experienced, more middle of the road traditional democrat.  He was considered a softening factor to the young and less experienced Obama.  McCain, the opponent, looked much more experienced and seasoned and had that edge, which he later gave away I believe by picking Sarah Palin, a young less experienced politician so that both the Republicans and the Democrats had one old traditional and one young maverick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get me wrong – I like Biden as a man.  But he turns 70 in November and what was once a folksy way of telling it straight has become a string of ill-timed gaffes.  My favorite is while honoring Chuck Graham he kept asking the man to stand up and be recognized, while the paralyzed wheel chair bound man remained seated akwardly.  Biden grew up blue collar and by all accounts is a great family man, father, husband and neighbor.  He even makes a point of commuting on public transportation.  I also wish I had teeth like that at 70, real ones or not.   I of course, being a conservative, disagree with his and Obama’s political philosophies, but both men seem to be good family men of honor.

But once again, 70 year old, from Democrat stronghold but small state of Delaware, making regular gaffes.  What if Obama is re-elected and God forbid cannot finish his term.  I personally think Biden is starting to have some limited capacity.  I am not sure I would want President Biden.  It would be easy enough for him to step aside and say, “Look, I am 70, this administration needs a younger man in this time of crisis” and he would retire a hero and go to his nice family.

Then who could Obama pick?  Hillary Clinton?  A young Democrat who has perhaps done well economically in a swing state?  If Biden were young, I think it would be a great mistake to change partners mid dance.  But with such a graceful exit, I think Obama could breath new life into his campaign and take the focus off other issues.

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I Filled my Tank and My Car Doubled in Value!

I am not that old, but I remember 23 cents a gallon gas where a guy would pump it for you, wash your windshield, check your tires and oil, and give you six times green stamps to boot.  I first saw the joke “I Filled my Tank and My Car Doubled in Value!” on the Red Green Show, a strange Canadian comedy I highly recommend if you ever channel surf and see it on.  It displayed a beat up van getting filled and the gas was worth more than the van.  Nowadays, that is increasingly true for all of us.  How do high gas prices affect us?  My own son has to consider his budget before he drives over from Scottsdale to North Phoenix to visit.  Prices are expected to get higher and higher as our President continues to give hundreds of billions to failing solar panel makers but will not let us drill for new oil or build new nuclear plants.  Eventually, we will all be stuck within one square mile, walking, eating, living, unable to afford to move about.

Some of you will remember recent Republican Candidate Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax proposal.  This appears to be Obama’s 9-9-9 proposal for his second term if he makes it:

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