Liberalscum Buster

July 9, 2008



“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.






April 10, 2008


Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Blogroll, Bush, hillary clinton, John McCain, life, mideast, news, politics, war — gasdocpol @ 9:37 pm


The USA at the time, spent more on our military than the next 12 countries in the world combined.

January 18, 2008
The Great Defense Budget Black Hole

Doug Bandow
The Republican Party once claimed to oppose wasteful government spending. Republicans criticized Democrats for pushing ever more money for foreign aid and welfare, irrespective of results. When GOP candidates advocated increased military outlays during the Cold War, they pointed to genuine threats as justification.

Republicans are now the party of spend, spend, spend. Under a GOP president and Congress, domestic outlays went up faster than at any time since President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Moreover, Republican presidential candidates are seeking to outbid each other in demanding ever more military expenditures, irrespective of need.

Of course, the unnecessary Iraq war, which has consumed hundreds of billions in cash as well as thousands of lives, is one factor. Rather than include war outlays in its formal budget proposals, the Bush administration has attempted to disguise the cost by putting predictable spending into irregular supplementals. Last spring the Bush administration proposed a mammoth $715 billion military spending package: $481 billion for normal operations and $142 billion for Iraq in 2008, plus $93 billion to cover war costs that year, in addition to $70 billion for Iraq that was previously approved.

Unfortunately, no end of Iraq spending is in sight, since all GOP candidates save Rep. Ron Paul want to continue the misguided conflict indefinitely. Indeed, Sen. John McCain said it would be fine with him if America occupied Iraq for another 100 years.

But Iraq is only a small factor for today’s spendthrift hawks, who want to lavish money on everything everywhere. American foreign policy determines U.S. defense needs and thus military outlays. That is, the defense budget is the price of America’s foreign policy. The more interventionist the U.S. strategy, the bigger and more expensive the military must be. So how much should the U.S. spend on defense?

A lot more if one listens to the presidential contenders. Even some of the Democrats have been playing a game of “me-too,” proposing a military build-up without putting a price tag on it. For instance, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) advocates adding 92,000 personnel. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) promises “to expand and modernize the military.”

But the Republican candidates unashamedly propose spending more money, lots more. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani advocates adding ten combat brigades plus hardware. He puts no price on his plan. But Giuliani argues that “The idea of a post-Cold War ‘peace dividend’ was a serious mistake – the product of wishful thinking and the opposite of true realism.” Apparently the Soviet Union never was an important factor in U.S. defense planning. Thus, rebuilding the military, as Giuliani put it, would undoubtedly cost a lot.

Former Governor Mitt Romney similarly believes that Americans have “let down our defenses.” Thus, he wrote, “We need to increase our investment in national defense.” He wants the U.S. to add at least 100,000 troops and commit to spend “a minimum of four percent of GDP on national defense.”

Also pushing a firm floor of four percent GDP for defense is the Heritage Foundation and former Sen. Jim Talent. He and Mackenzie Eaglen cite the request by various military leaders for more money, noting that “the number, size, and duration of military deployments have increased dramatically since the end of the Cold War.” Thus, they conclude, “Policymakers who say that they support a strong military should be judged by whether or not they support spending a minimum of 4 percent of GDP on the regular defense budget over the next decade.” Heritage calls this the “4% for Freedom Solution.”

Fred Thompson, another former Senator, and presidential candidate, would up the ante. He echoes Giuliani in complaining of “one of the largest unilateral reductions of military power in history.” So he advocates an even larger troop build-up, of nearly 300,000. And that means spending 4.5 percent of GDP on the military, not counting the tens of billions necessary for Afghanistan and Iraq. Well, at least he argued that we should spend all that money “carefully and wisely,” as the Pentagon and Uncle Sam always do, in a speech in South Carolina, the site of Saturday’s primary.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) supports the Bush administration troop build-up of nearly 100,000 and wants to raise the bet by adding another 150,000 personnel for the Army and Marine Corps. He, like Giuliani, does not estimate costs. No wonder he voted against the Bush tax cuts: who knows what other wars President “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain would have to fund?

But these candidates are pikers compared to former Governor Mike Huckabee. He advocates speeding up the administration’s planned troop hike of 92,000. Even more incredibly, he wrote: “Right now, we are spending about 3.9 percent of our GDP on defense, compared with about six percent in 1986, under President Ronald Reagan. We need to return to that six percent level.” That would be $800 billion this year alone. Even if this figure included outlays for Afghanistan and Iraq, it would reflect a truly massive military build-up.

What could possibly justify such huge increases in military spending? Jim Talent spoke for all the spendthrift hawks when he wrote: “the situation facing the U.S. military is grave.” There are too few personnel. Too little new hardware. Insufficient investment in modernization. And so on.

Talent puts much store in the fact that Pentagon officials want more money. But as Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute points out: “most of us are neither surprised nor unduly impressed that officials of a government bureaucracy would like to maximize the budget of their bureaucracy. I would venture to say that leaders of the Department of Education or the Department of Agriculture undoubtedly feel the same about their organization’s funding level.”

Even granting the case for increased military spending, the level should be determined by the security needs of the moment. There is no reason a priori to believe that the right amount will constitute 4.0 or 4.5 or 6.0 percent this year, next year, or beyond. The economy’s size and growth are unrelated to national security threats. Comparisons with the GDP percentage years or decades ago are meaningless given how the U.S. economy has grown: Between 1960 and 2005 real GDP more than quadrupled. Has the world really gotten four times as dangerous, requiring a fourfold increase in defense outlays, which would have resulted from tying military spending to GDP?

Anyway, if the world is so dangerous, then why should the U.S. not spend even more? During the early years of the Cold War military expenditures broke ten percent of GDP. During the Korean War defense spending hit 14.2 percent of GDP. During World War II military outlays peaked at 37.8 percent of GDP.

So perhaps Washington should maintain military outlays at ten percent of GDP. After all, the world is dangerous and we are rich. That would be almost $1.4 trillion for the military this year, almost triple the rest of the world. But how could we be sure that was enough? Fourteen percent would be safer. And what’s a paltry $2 trillion among friends? Still, even that seems risky, given how the GOP contenders view the world – the U.S. as a helpless midget being swarmed by evildoers. Why not go for the World War II level? Surely $5 trillion is not too much to spend to be secure!

By advocating an arbitrary and artificial spending level, these conservatives sound like liberals on domestic policy: spend money, as much money as possible, irrespective of need or effectiveness. Yet how can anyone seriously argue that the U.S. military is weak and in dire need of more money? Today America devotes about 4.1 percent of GDP to the military. The U.S. is committing more than a half trillion dollars to defense, not just the most of any country, but roughly as much as the rest of the world combined – even more, 57 percent of outlays in 2008, according to the organization Global Security.

That is an extraordinary number. Richard Betts of Columbia University notes that such levels “cannot be justified based on any actual threats that the U.S. armed forces might plausibly be expected to encounter. The military capabilities of the United States need to be kept comfortably superior to those of present and potential enemies. But they should be measured relatively, against those enemies’ capabilities, and not against the limits of what is technologically possible or based on some vague urge to have more.”

Nevertheless, argued Fred Thompson, we are in “a New World, all right – with new threats rising up in place of old,” most notably that of terrorism. Thus, “we have asked our military to take on an ever-greater role in our defense” but provided it with less money.

Even more dramatic is Talent’s claim:

“The world today is, on balance, at least as dangerous as it was at the end of the Cold War. The U.S. is no longer in danger of a massive nuclear attack, nor is a major land war in Europe likely, but the threats we face are no less serious. America is engaged in a war against terrorism that will last for years. The danger of a rogue missile attack is greater than ever. China is emerging as a peer competitor much faster than most of us expected, and Russia’s brief experiment with democracy is failing.”

Actually, Talent doesn’t believe the world is at least as dangerous as before. He believes that we are at even greater risk. He explained: “We live in a multipolar world with threats that are highly unpredictable and therefore, taken as a whole, more dangerous than the threats we faced during the Cold War.”

This is not a serious argument. Those years of competing nuclear arsenals, armored divisions, air wings, and carrier groups? That time of having to defend war-ravaged allies from an aggressive Soviet Union, unpredictable Maoist China, and various European and Third World communist satellites? Child’s play compared to confronting Osama bin Laden with his vast legions and armaments, lapping at America’s shores. It is depressing to think that Talent once served in the U.S. Senate.

There are three fundamental problems with the “America as helpless midget” thesis. The first is that today’s threat environment is nothing like that during the Cold War. To claim that today’s dangers “are no less serious” than before is frankly bizarre. Terrorism, a la 9/11, is horrid, but the potential consequences are nothing like that of even a small nuclear strike. Moreover, such terrorism is best met by a combination of sophisticated intelligence, international cooperation, law enforcement, and special forces rather than huge militaries and preventive wars. “The hype employed by some conservative panic mongers to the contrary, the terrorist threat is not the functional equivalent of World War III, and we do not need to fund the military as though it is” observed Carpenter.

The threat of nuclear terrorism or a rogue state missile attack is real – though thankfully very unlikely – and must be guarded against. But, again, there is no comparison with the possibility of a full-scale nuclear exchange incinerating the planet. The Soviet Union had the means to destroy America; the U.S. and the USSR came dangerously close to conflict during the Cuban Missile Crisis; the two countries spent decades sparring around the globe, luckily avoiding a multitude of tripwires for war.

Moreover, the possibility of a serious conventional conflict, which could be as destructive as a small nuclear strike – witness the impact of World War II – is essentially zero. Whatever the vagaries of Russian politics today, there is no prospect of the Red Army rolling from Moscow to the Atlantic. Russia has neither the will nor the ability to do so, under Vladimir Putin or anyone else. Putin wants a strong, assertive Russia, not another world war with Russian cities again reduced to rubble. His countrymen are no different.

Nor is a more assertive China any substitute for aggressive hegemonic communism exemplified by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao Zedong’s China, several Warsaw Pact countries, and a gaggle of Third World revolutionary states. Beijing is decades away from being a peer competitor of America: Estimates of Chinese military spending vary, but the most authoritative top out around $125 billion. Thus, the “worst case” wins Beijing second place in the world, but still barely a quarter of American outlays.

Some analysts have argued that China gets much more for its money, based on the economic comparisons of purchasing power parity versus exchange rate GDP estimates. But the analysis has limited applicability in measuring the quantity and quality of military assets. Moreover, though China is improving its forces, it is starting at a very low base – it has no aircraft carriers, for instance, compared to 12 for America. Beijing lacks the nuclear subs, large-scale blue water navy, quality armored divisions, sophisticated air wings, and massive nuclear arsenal possessed by America.

That doesn’t mean China’s military build-up is benign from Washington’s standpoint. But Beijing is concentrating on creating a military capable of deterring American intervention, not attacking the U.S. Even the spendthrift hawks admit as much. Writes Heritage’s John J. Thacik, Jr., “The ultimate question must be whether Beijing’s leaders have any purpose in assembling a military machine worthy of a superpower other than to have the strength to challenge the United States’ strategic position in Asia.” But preserving U.S. predominance in Asia is not the same as defending America. The “danger” that Talent, Thompson, and others fearfully cite does not involve aggression against America. The spendthrift hawks worry that the U.S. will be unable to attack countries on the neoconservative enemy’s list for one or another imagined offense. However, few, if any such conflicts would involve vital American interests.

The second point is that preventive intervention in the name of promoting U.S. security almost always worsens problems. Talent claimed: “In the end, it would take a lot more than 4 percent of our GDP to defend a ‘Fortress America’ – an America that allows dangers to fester and grow until they are strong enough to attack us in our homeland.”

If social engineering won’t work in America, why should we expect it to work overseas, despite different histories, cultures, ethnicities, religions, traditions, and more? Economists have long analyzed the reasons government so badly (mis)manages the economy, no matter how bright the analysts and dedicated the politicians. Yet military intervention is even more problematic than economic intervention. It is impossible to look years ahead and divine the likely intentions and capabilities of other states. It is foolish to assume that bombing is the best means to resolve “festering problems.” War is always unpredictable and almost always turns out far worse than expected – just look at the many occasions when aggressors lost. The distant and inadvertent impacts of war often swallow up the more predictable immediate effects.

Iraq is an obvious case in point. The Bush administration took the U.S. into war based on a nonexistent threat. Rather than deliver worldly nirvana, the U.S. occupation triggered bloody sectarian strife, generated regional instability, and encouraged global terrorism. So much for Talent’s strategy of intervening early to save money.

Intervention is working almost as well in Pakistan. It’s a wonderful theory: micro-manage Pakistan’s political and economic development so we won’t have to worry about nuclear proliferation, jihadist terrorism, authoritarian rule, tribal antagonism, politics by assassination, ethnic and sectarian strife, rampant anti-Americanism, and political instability. Great idea. We certainly wouldn’t want problems to fester, costing the U.S. more in the long-term. Absolutely.

Even the so-called rogue states like Iran and North Korea possess minuscule militaries compared to that of America, and can be deterred by existing forces. Indeed, America’s military budget is 30 times that of Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria combined. Does Talent & Co. really believe that spending as much as every other country combined isn’t enough to prevent these, along with other formidable military powers such as Burma and Somalia, from attacking America?

Third, the U.S. is not alone in its fight for truth, justice, democracy, and whatever else the spendthrift hawks claim to be promoting. Rather, America is allied with every major industrialized state. Washington also is friendly with most regional powers which aren’t formal allies, such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. Europe possesses a much larger population and a somewhat larger economy than America, let alone Russia. Japan has the second largest economy on earth and a potent military; Australia, Singapore, and the ASEAN states also are capable regional players able to cooperate in matching China. South Korea has 40 times the GDP and twice the population of the North.

So why can’t America’s allies and friends defend themselves and their regions? Or do the spendthrift hawks believe that the U.S. has to protect itself from its allies as well? That New Zealand, perhaps, has a burning desire to dominate the globe and is plotting a preemptive strike against America?

In short, the problem of defense spending is a consequence of an hyper-interventionist foreign policy. Argues Columbia’s Betts: “Washington spends so much and yet feels so insecure because U.S. policymakers have lost the ability to think clearly about defense policy.”

America protects prosperous and populous states from nonexistent, potential, and unlikely threats. Washington attempts to remake failed states and reorder unstable regions that are largely irrelevant to American security. Only occasionally does the U.S. military actually defend this country against genuine dangers. The point is not just that Washington cannot afford to be a global social engineer and cop. But it is not in America’s interest to be an international nag and meddler, especially at such a high price. Even if promiscuous intervention did not tend to turn out so badly, the American people have far better uses for the lives and money currently being squandered by Washington’s imperial policy.

America is by far the most powerful nation on earth. It would remain the most powerful nation on earth even if it cut military outlays. What the U.S. needs is not a bigger military budget, but a more restrained foreign policy. That is, a foreign policy for a republic rather than an empire.

April 7, 2008



At the very least, we will need to bring back the draft to “win” in Iraq. We had the draft in Vietnam and we did not win there. So no quarantee.

McCain was a POW. Is the Presidency his reward? Is being a POW an important qualification for the Presidency.

General Petreus said that there must be a political solution not a military solution. McCain demonstrated that he did not have even a basic understanding of Mideast politics when he confused Sunnis Shiites and Al Qaeda.

McCain has an explosive temper and he is superstitious by his own admission. Do we want McCain getting that 3 AM phone call?

McCain has admitted that he does not know much about economics.

McCain has a cavelier attitude about how long we should stay in Iraq and sets a “Beach Boys” song
” Bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran”.


March 23, 2008


Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Blogroll, Bush, hillary clinton, life, medicine, mideast, news, war — gasdocpol @ 9:11 pm


Obama made one when he used the single word “typical” and suddenly all it could be understood by FOX News and people who don’t like Obama.

Apparently everything else has gone over their heads.

March 13, 2008


Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Blogroll, Bush, hillary clinton, life, mideast, news, politics, war — gasdocpol @ 2:32 pm


WELL, OK if he had a staff of “advisors” to do ALL of his thinking for him, maybe….

The point is that someone could have 20 years of experience or one year of experience 20 times.

The end result has to be good judgement. Years of experience is only one factor in the aquisition of good judgement.

Hillary is unquestionably smart, and hard working but so is Obama. Hillary may be more organized than Obama but Obama seems to have more common sense, better judgement and ability to express himself.

March 10, 2008


Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Blogroll, Bush, hillary clinton, life, mideast, news, politics, war — gasdocpol @ 3:36 am

Hillary says that only she and McCain have enough years in Washington to be commander-in-chief.

Since McCain has more years in Washington than Hillary, that would make McCain more qualified according to Hillary.


January 20, 2008

Hillary, Barack, Experience

Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Blogroll, Bush, life, mideast, news, politics, war — gasdocpol @ 11:35 am

In the NY Times Sunday this AM

Published: January 20, 2008

With all the sniping from the Clinton camp about whether Barack Obama has enough experience to make a strong president, consider another presidential candidate who was far more of a novice. He had the gall to run for president even though he had served a single undistinguished term in the House of Representatives, before being hounded back to his district.


Another successful president scorned any need for years of apprenticeship in Washington, declaring, “The same old experience is not relevant.” He suggested that the most useful training comes not from hanging around the White House and Congress but rather from experience “rooted in the real lives of real people” so that “it will bring real results if we have the courage to change.”

That was BILL CLINTON running in 1992 against George H. W. Bush, who was then trumpeting his own experience over the callow youth of Mr. Clinton. That year Mr. Bush aired a television commercial urging voters to keep America “in the hands of experience.”

It might seem obvious that long service in Washington is the best preparation for the White House, but on the contrary, one lesson of American history is that length of experience in national politics is an extremely poor predictor of presidential success.

Looking at the 19 presidents since 1900, three of the greatest were among those with the fewest years in electoral politics. TEDDY ROOSEVELT had been a governor for two years and vice president for six months; WOODROW WILSON, a governor for just two years; and FRANLLIN ROOSEVELT, a governor for four years. None ever served in Congress.

They all did have executive experience (as did Mr. Clinton), actually running something larger than a Senate office. Maybe that’s something voters should think about more: governors have often made better presidents than senators. But that’s not a good Democratic talking point, because the candidates with the greatest administrative experience by far are Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee.

Alternatively, look at the five presidents since 1900 with perhaps the most political experience when taking office: William McKinley, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. They had great technical skills — but not one was among our very greatest presidents.

The point is not that experience is pointless but that it needn’t be in politics to be useful. John McCain’s years as a P.O.W. gave him an understanding of torture and a moral authority to discuss it that no amount of Senate hearings ever could have conferred.

In the same way, Mr. Obama’s years as an antipoverty organizer give him insights into one of our greatest challenges: how to end cycles of poverty. That front-line experience is one reason Mr. Obama not only favors government spending programs, like early-childhood education, but also cultural initiatives like promoting responsible fatherhood.

Then there’s Mr. Obama’s grade-school years in Indonesia. Our most serious mistakes in foreign policy, from Vietnam to Iraq, have been a blindness to other people’s nationalism and an inability to see ourselves as others see us. Mr. Obama seems to have absorbed an intuitive sensitivity to that problem. For starters, he understood back in 2002 that American troops would not be greeted in Iraq with flowers.

In politics, Mr. Obama’s preparation is indeed thin, though it’s more than Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledges. His seven years in the Illinois State Senate aren’t heavily scrutinized, but he scored significant achievements there: a law to videotape police interrogations in capital cases; an earned income tax credit to fight poverty; an expansion of early-childhood education.

Mrs. Clinton’s strength is her mastery of the details of domestic and foreign policy, unrivaled among the candidates; she speaks fluently about what to do in Pakistan, Iraq, Darfur. Mr. Obama’s strength is his vision and charisma and the possibility that his election would heal divisions at home and around the world. John Edwards’s strength is his common touch and his leadership among the candidates in establishing detailed positions on health care, poverty and foreign aid.

Those are the meaningful distinctions in the Democratic field, not Mrs. Clinton’s spurious claim to “35 years of experience.” The Democrats with the greatest Washington expertise — Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson — have already been driven from the race. And the presidential candidate left standing with the greatest experience by far is Mr. McCain; if Mrs. Clinton believes that’s the criterion for selecting the next president, she might consider backing him.

To put it another way, think which politician is most experienced today in the classic sense, and thus — according to the “experience” camp — best qualified to become the next president.

That’s DICK CHENEY. And I rest my case.

December 27, 2007


Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Blogroll, Bush, life, mideast, news, politics, Uncategorized, war — gasdocpol @ 12:49 pm

In October 2002, Barack Obama KNEW what we know now

” I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”

Not bad for a young whippersnapper of 45 who some say is lacking in experience. Among other things Obama recognised that:

1. The success of the war was not a given.

2. The occupation could be lengthy

3. The cost could be great. Try a trillion dollars

4. There could be undetermined consequences. How abour 4000 Americans dead and 30,000 maimed for life?

5. Arabs could react badly and recruitment for Al Qaeda would be strengthened.

He concluded that it would be a dumb war. I will take my chances with that young whippersnapper any day.


Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Blogroll, Bush, life, mideast, news, politics, war — gasdocpol @ 12:07 pm


Barack Obama had enough life’s experience to take the information available at the time to utter the following words in October 2002.

” I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars”

Bush/Cheney, McCain, Giuliani, Hillary, Edwards and Romney WERE ALL IN FAVOR OF THAT DUMB WAR.

December 25, 2007


Filed under: Blogroll, Christmas, life, RELIGION, Uncategorized — gasdocpol @ 6:34 pm

The Old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away.

It was just another day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas, just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. As he was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. ‘Thank You, but I don’t mean to intrude,’ said the stranger ‘I see you’re busy, I’ll just go.’ ‘Not without something hot in your belly.’ George said.

He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. ‘It ain’t much, but it’s hot and tasty, ‘Stew ….. I Made it myself. When you’re done, there’s coffee and it’s fresh.’

Just at that moment he heard the ‘ding’ of the driveway bell. ‘Excuse me, be right back,’ George said. There in the
Driveway was an old ’53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. ‘Mister can you help me!’ said the driver, with a deep Spanish Accent. ‘My wife is with child and my car is broken.’

George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. ‘You Ain’t going in this!
Thing,’ George said as he turned away.

‘But mister, please help ….’ The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside..

He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. ‘Here, take my Truck,’ he said. ‘She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. ‘Glad I gave ’em the truck, their tires were shot too. That ‘ole truck has brand new to them.

George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. ‘Well, at least he got something in his belly,’ George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He
discovered that the block hadn’t cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. ‘Well, shoot, I can fix this,’ he said to himself. So he put a new one on.

‘Those tires ain’t gonna get ’em through the winter either.’ He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground.
Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, ‘Please help Me.’

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention.
‘Pressure to stop the bleeding,’ he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. ‘Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin’,’ he said, trying to make
The policeman feel at ease.

‘Something for pain,’ George thought. All he had were the pills he used for his back. ‘These ought to work.’ He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. ‘You hang in there,
I’m going to get you an ambulance.’

The phone was dead. ‘Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car.’ He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. ‘Thanks,’ said
The officer. ‘You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.’

George sat down beside him, ‘I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain’t gonna leave you.’ George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. ‘Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through ‘ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain.’

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. ‘How do you take it?’ he asked. ‘None for me,’ said the officer. ‘Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain’t got no donuts.’ The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. ‘Give me all your cash! Do it now!’ the young man yelled.
His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

‘That’s the guy that shot me!’ exclaimed the officer.

‘Son, why are you doing this?’ asked George, ‘You need to put
the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.’

The young man was confused. ‘Shut up old man, or I’ll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!’

The cop was reaching for his gun. ‘Put that thing away,’ George
said to the cop, ‘we got one too many in here now.’

He turned his attention to the young man. ‘Son, it’s Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain’t much but it’s all I got. Now put that pee shooter away!

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. ‘I’m not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,’ he went on. I’ve lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week !

George handed the gun to the cop. Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair
across from the cop. ‘Sometimes we do stupid things.’ George handed the young man a cup of coffee. ‘Bein’ stupid is one of the things that makes us human.

Comin’ in here with a gun ain’t the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we’ll sort this thing out.’

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to
the cop. ‘Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I’m sorry officer.’

‘Shut up and drink your coffee.’ the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. ‘Chuck! You ok?’ one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

‘Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find

‘GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did
this?’ the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, ‘I don’t know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.’

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each

‘That guy works here,’ the wounded cop continued. ‘Yep,’ George said, ‘just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.’

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher.. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, ‘Why?’

Chuck just said, ‘Merry Christmas boy … and you too, George, and thanks for everything .’

‘Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.’

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He
pulled out a ring box. ‘Here you go, something for the little woman. I don’t think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day.’

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. ‘I can’t take this,’ said the young man. ‘It means something to you.’

‘And now it means something to you,’ replied George. ‘I got my memories. That’s all I need.’

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. Here’s something for that little man of yours.’

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

‘And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You
keep that too,’ George said, ‘Now git home to your family.’

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. ‘I’ll be here in the morning for work, if that job is open.’

‘Nope. I’m closed Christmas day,’
George said. ‘See ya the day after.’

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. ‘Where’d you come from? I thought you left?’

‘I’ve been here. I have always been here,’ said the stranger..
‘You say you don’t celebrate Christmas. Why?’

‘Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn’t see what all the bother was. Puttin’ up a tree just seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin’ cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn’t the same by myself and besides I was gettin’ a little chubby.’

The stranger put his hand on George’s shoulder. ‘But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry.

The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. ‘That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as
good as any man.’

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said.
‘And how do you know all this?’ asked the old man.

‘Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.’

The stranger moved toward the door. ‘If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big
celebration planned.’

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

You see, George … it’s My birthday. Merry Christmas.’

George fell to his knees and replied,

‘Happy Birthday, Lord.’

With all the holiday rush, try to remember,that sometimes showing a little kindness might be more rewarding than any of us could ever know.

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