Sunday, October 30, 2016

Trump (***) vs Clinton (*)

I’ve decided to work through my inclination not to post on social media and talk about my personal history.  So to put this post in perspective, I retired as an Air Force officer the first time, then as an Air Force civil servant the second time.  For all of that period I held security clearances.  I repeatedly signed non-disclosure forms that said if I disclosed classified information to unauthorized individuals I would be subject to penalties such as 10 years imprisonment or $100,000 fines.  Over the years, I stayed away from social media because of a concern of inadvertently revealing information that could affect my security clearance and my job. 

So my view is that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and penalties imposed.  If not in jail (miraculously), she should be on probation and ineligible for office.

Many of us lived through the Clinton presidency where we continually heard that one’s private sexual life was not germane to one’s performance as president.  Most Republicans probably thought that was wrong, and it’s definitely leading to a feeling of hypocrisy when planning to vote for Trump.  However, with Bill Clinton there was substantial reason to believe most if not all of his accusers were legitimate. Hillary vociferously attacked those accusers.  With Trump I have seen accusations of lesser offenses than Bill Clinton’s rapes, all coming within the last 30 days of the campaign, from years ago, and with almost no proof.  The claims against him sound too much like the insults of racism, bigotry, and the twisting of Trump’s words that stream continuously from Hillary Clinton and the main stream media.  Denigrating Trump, rather than pushing her policies, seems to be Clinton’s primary approach to campaigning.

What I will base my vote on are the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the policies of the two candidates.  Most of all, I believe in the Constitution of the United States and in the concepts of individual liberty and unalienable rights.  I want the Supreme Court and the other life-long appointees of the federal judiciary to interpret the laws and apply the Constitution as they are written.  I do not want an unelected, life-long set of jurists legislating from the bench and destroying the rule of law.  Hillary wants to nominate liberal justices who will legislate their agenda from the bench.  Trump wants justices that will apply the Constitution.

I want the right to own and carry a weapon as needed for self-defense.  Hillary either wants to repeal the Second Amendment or allow states such as California or New York or the District of Columbia to place any restriction on ownership, up to not even allowing you to own a gun.  Trump defends the Second Amendment.

I believe in the right to life of the unborn fetus, so does Trump.  Clinton believes in allowing late term abortions and partial birth abortions.

I believe in the right to live your life according to your religion.  Clinton’s judges and the great majority of liberals no longer believe in Religious Freedom outside your home or place of worship.

I believe in the right to Free Speech, for everyone, including corporations, companies, unions, and any organization that represents a group of citizens.  Clinton wants to reverse Supreme Court decisions supporting that belief.  And just to comment on liberal culture, I don’t believe that freedom should be abridged on college campuses that take money from state or federal governments.

Obviously, I believe in a strong military.  Trump plans to reverse the decline in defense capabilities of the Obama years.  Clinton believes the Obama approach is correct.

Regulations are probably my second biggest concern after the Constitution.  Obama (as well as Clinton) and the EPA’s campaign to kill coal, natural gas (fracking), and pipelines to distribute the fuel is disastrous.  We have a power network that relies on fossil fuels for something like 67% of our power.  Do you want brown-outs and high energy costs in your future?  Sure, I like solar and wind, and believe they should be expanded as economics and technology allow.  But I also have graduate degrees in electrical engineering and physics.  Alternative sources of energy (i.e. solar and wind) can supplement, but they can never be a primary energy source, and they are costly.  We recently obtained an estimate for a solar installation for our home.  To provide about 77% of our annual usage, it would have cost us $65,000 (before federal tax credits).  And that’s after years of hearing that the cost of solar is coming down!  I worry some about cyber attacks on our power grid.  With a solar installation I could guarantee our water pump would work during sunny days.  But our refrigerators, freezer, and air conditioning (in south central Texas) wouldn’t have any solar power at night.

Beyond the EPA, Obama has expanded bureaucracy/agency regulations that are stifling our economy and its growth.  Clinton wants to continue that approach.  Trump wants to reverse it.

Free trade is an issue that I’ve changed my mind about over the years.  In an open society where politics and national interests do not manipulate economic behavior, free trade would be great once a steady-state condition is reached.  Until then, there would be disruptions and hardships on individuals, groups and communities (i.e., your job would be at risk).  With the current nation-state partitioning of the planet’s population, our current agreements are destructive to our economy.  High employee salaries and costs plus high U.S. taxes mean jobs and manufacturing move to other countries.  If you increase productivity (to make an item cheaper to offset high employee costs) by automating the manufacturing process, you end up with fewer jobs.  Trump claims he will modify treaties to achieve deals that are not disadvantageous to the U.S.  I think he deserves the chance to show what impact a changed approach may have.  Clinton wants to continue with our current ruinous approach.

Health care is another issue that seems to be a core item of contention.  Obamacare has shown that a liberal attempt to impose government regulations on our health system causes higher costs and less choice.  I use the military retirement TriCare system, and cannot imagine a $5,000 annual deductible.  But I have also seen what it’s like to live with the doctor they assign you with no choice.  I’ve gone in to a military clinic coughing up green phlegm and been given cough medicine as their solution, I presume because they were told to minimize the use of antibiotics and to keep costs down.  I had to go to the emergency room days later to get an x-ray and the antibiotics needed to clear up the bronchitis.  I do not want to transition to government provided medical care for everyone, whether a public option that is cheaper and drives out private competition or a single payer (government only) system.  Choice will disappear and costs will rise.  If you don’t pay the costs because of government subsidies, other taxpayers will.  Trump presents us with the chance of a revitalized health care system.  Clinton’s will be a European or British system.

On immigration and national security.  I want to see our immigration laws enforced.  I don’t want borders where drug smugglers, terrorists and anyone with two feet can enter our country illegally.  Secure the borders, don’t just promise it or provide misleading statistics showing it’s not a problem.  Then work on the issue of legalizing those who came here without permission--that have not demonstrated other criminal behavior.  And do not grant entry to prospective immigrants without a background check, especially if they come from countries supporting or involved in terrorism.  Trump believes in that approach.  Clinton does not.

On international affairs and national security, Clinton and Obama have a history.  Clinton does not propose significant changes, for the most part.  The situation with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea has deteriorated, in my opinion, due in large part to Obama and Clinton foreign policy.  They do not seem to have the ability to counter increasing and emerging threats.  They seem to ignore it.  Clinton’s state department ignored requests for added security in Libya.  When an attack came that killed four people, including our ambassador, they did not even launch a timely military rescue.  I do not know how anyone can think Clinton’s foreign policy experience and decision making is something we want in a President.

Further, Clinton has recently proposed a no-fly-zone in Syria.  Early in the Syrian conflict, that might have worked.  Today, Russia has set up mobile variants of the S-300 air defense system (I am not an expert on this) that can take out anything flying within 100 to 150 miles of the system.  Can we take out those units?  I don’t know--maybe.  But it would seem to require a direct conflict with Russian forces.  Otherwise, how would we control the air?  Either Clinton was just trying to sound tough and smart for votes, intentionally misleading the voters, or she is inept and poorly advised about military operations.

Trump won’t talk much about his approach, which is considered good operational security, before an operation.  On the other hand, it doesn’t let you make firm conclusions about his decision making.  He does have good advisors!

On general temperament, I still lean to Trump.  Can you envision an extremely successful businessman with the characteristics Clinton claims for Trump?  He couldn’t make a deal or arrange a contract.  I expect Trump's deal making skills would make an excellent President.  Can you see a foreign head of state trusting anything that Clinton says?  Well maybe, if they make a big enough donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Finally, I almost overlooked policing in America.  With Black Lives Matter and recent media attention on police shootings of minorities, this has become a significant issue.  My wish is to allow police and the local justice systems to do their investigations, and if needed, go to trial.  Complete the initial process without federal intervention such as FBI and justice investigations, and premature conclusions and statements from the President.  If the local/state investigation and follow-up appears in error, prejudicial to one party, or not timely, then get the feds and public interest groups involved.  The police need our support to maintain the rule of law.  Trump understands that.  I’m not sure Clinton does.

To wrap up, I think it is almost unconscionable to vote for the candidate that does not support one’s beliefs on the Constitution, regulations, the economy, health care, foreign policy and crime/policing.  I can live with uncouth outbursts.  I can only feel anger about a public servant who has violated the trust of the American people by disclosing classified information to unauthorized individuals on unsecured networks and devices, then made light of it.  I don’t see that the arguments are even close.  Trump will be my choice.