Give-and-Take

Recently a new reader began following this blog, Lisa Jensen, blogging as The Snarky Activist.  Almost all of my readers lean toward the liberal-left, as do I, and none of us have a love of anything even remotely attributable to Donald Trump.  Lisa is different, in that she supports Trump and defends his policies.  For the past year, I have been hoping that somebody from the conservative-right, a Trump supporter, would join our conversations so that we could begin to understand, and perhaps be understood as well.  The few that did, were quickly shown the door because they could not seem to speak to us respectfully, but instead simply wanted to engage in name-calling and putting down our views without even listening.  I have no use for such and will not tolerate it.  But Lisa is different.  Her comments over the past several days have been well thought-out and respectful, and she has answered my questions regarding her views, and asked me questions as well.  This, folks, is how civil discourse works.  Lisa and I even found common ground … we both love wolves, and I suspect most other critters!

In a comment yesterday, Lisa gave us all a challenge:

Lisa-Jensen-2“I’ll leave you with this: Dems and Repubs won’t agree on everything but there has to be some give. I’d challenge you and your followers to find just ONE thing you can agree on that Trump has done for the betterment of America or the World. That of course means you have to accept he is instrumental in the good things that have happened. Be well today!”

Now, I gave this some thought and I would like us to try to rise to the challenge.  For most of my regular readers, as well as for myself, this will not be easy.  I strongly disapprove of nearly everything Donald Trump has done in his 15 months in office, and I can support my views with facts, as I frequently do.  But, admittedly, I have not looked to see if there was something … anything … he has done of which I could approve.  Since I would really like to try to gain some insight, some understanding, to do my very small part toward finding common ground, I would like to pick up the gauntlet that Lisa threw down for us and accept the challenge.  But I cannot do this alone, and I am asking you, dear friends, to join me in this.  I think that it can result in an educational experience for us all, and might even be fun.  But Lisa isn’t getting off the hook here, for I am laying down a gauntlet of my own, and asking her to find just ONE thing that President Obama did that was for the betterment of the U.S. or the World and should not be reversed.

None of us are likely to change our ideologies … there are significant differences between republicans and democrats, conservative-thinkers and liberal-thinkers.  But somewhere, we need to find a bit of middle ground, a place where we can at least respectfully ‘agree to disagree’. I hope at least some of you will help me out here, for I think we have an opportunity to engage in some meaningful discussion and perhaps, if nothing else, come to understand each other just a little better, find a small piece of common ground.

Thanks in advance to all who are willing to comment and participate in this experiment!

Note to Readers: I have purposely not answered comments on this post yet, for I wanted to give Lisa an opportunity to do so first, if she chose. However, she is currently dealing with a personal situation and it may be a day or two before she is able to get back to this. I will try to respond to comments on this post in the morning. Thanks to all who commented!!!

140 thoughts on “Give-and-Take

  1. Pingback: Many, Many Thanks, Dear Friends!!! | Filosofa's Word

  2. Hi Jill et al,

    Jill challenged me back with finding one thing that Obama and his administration accomplished that was GOOD and should not be reversed.

    At first, I was stumped – literally, my brain has been filled with current politics and defending Trump that I honest-to-God had to go look up what else Obama did. No lie.

    I went through an opinion piece of Obama’s top 28 accomplishments, but kept going No, No, No, until I found this: It was during Obama’s tenure we saw Gay Marriage rights, a highly controversial topic and many states putting (the reversal) to vote.

    I’m straight, but I am human. There is a huge community out there who strongly opposes the definition of marriage to be beyond man-woman, but I’m not one of them. My partner-in-activism, who I frequently work with on national and local rallies is gay. He’s also millennial btw. I know, shocker right? Anyway, I don’t care (and honestly, a lot of my followers are like me) how you love, or who you love. And if you commit to each other, and want it legitimized, and protected by the state, then you should have to go through the same struggles the rest of us go through to dissolve it. Just kidding – but you get my point – love is love. Make it legal.

    For that, I’m glad President Obama pushed the envelope in whatever ways he may have had a hand in that, and if he didn’t, it doesn’t matter – that change happened during the Obama years, and that is what we will all remember, even if the momentum came from individual states/ grassroots movements.

    Also, I dig how cool he was. His hilariousness with Biden is one for the hall of fame.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! Yes, I applauded his many moves to end discrimination against the LGBT community, and also the Supreme Court for voting in favour of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. I have fears that there will be a movement to try to get that ruling reversed at some point, for it is what the evangelicals have called for, but I hope it doesn’t happen. And yes, the Obamas both had a great sense of humour and grace. Thanks again … now that didn’t hurt, did it 😉

      Like

  3. Note to Readers: I have purposely not answered comments on this post yet, for I wanted to give Lisa an opportunity to do so first, if she chose. However, she is currently dealing with a personal situation and it may be a day or two before she is able to get back to this. I will try to respond to comments on this post in the morning. Thanks to all who commented!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry it took a bit for me to get here and to respond. FIRST, wow, Jill, way to go! You made it seem in an earlier comment off thread that I wouldn’t necessary like these comments, but I gotta say, you have some fabulous readers who are engaged, fired up, and took this concept to heart. The comments have been a joy to read and respond to. I’m thankful you did this and I want all of you to know that I’ll always be the even-tempered Conservative in the mist (unless someone is a complete asshat, then Snarky Activity shows up.)

      I’ll respond in a separate comment to you back-challenge. Much love and respect to you Jill for opening a channel to your readers that not all Trump supporters are racist bigots who hate immigrants, gays, trans, and women. I think my responses have proved that point. Besides, I genuinely want liberals to ask me questions, challenge my perspective, learn from me, and allow me to learn from them.

      I hope your readers will take the time to follow my blog as well, and offer their opinions on my posts. Same respect applies. 💋❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you! Yes, my readers are great people, humanitarians, and while we get fired up sometimes, respect is the rule of the day on this blog. I recently barred a ‘gentleman’ who was rude to both myself and my readers, and who wished me dead one time too many. Your comments were great and we all appreciate it. I look forward to more such sessions. Hugs!!!

        Liked by 1 person

          • Ahhh … I agree, but it isn’t the first time and likely not the last. That is why I am so excited that we opened this conversation and everybody jumped in, but nobody started being ornery, name-calling, or anything. Just reasoned conversation. Much better than threats! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Jill, Snarky Activist and friends,

    I thought of something. President Trump came out against Mr. Blankenship who was vying to be the republican candidate for a WVA US senate seat. This is the racist coal baron who served jail time for his negligence which cost the lives of 28 miners.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes. He did do that, but NOT because he was a racist coal baron, He asked Republicans not to vote for him and to vote for one of the other two candidates in that primary because, to use words similar to what he used, he could not win in the general election. “Remember Alabama”, he said. Not remember the accused pedophile I endorsed in Alabama, just remember he didn’t win the general election there and this guy might not either so don’t vote for him. That he was a racist and was still on parole from prison was irrelevant to the fact he couldn’t win. Believe me, had Trump thought he could win anyway, his character would have no baring on whether or not he endorsed him. Winning is ALL that matters. Period.

      Liked by 5 people

    • I’m glad Blankenship didn’t get the vote. Having said that, I challenge EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to deny you’ve EVER said a racist off color statement. I don’t know and don’t care (cuz I don’t need to) what Blankenship actually allegedly said. My point is the hypocrisy. It’s very easy for us mere citizens to point the finger outward but how many actually own up to our own human failings? I still laugh at off color jokes and I still remind myself of stupid shit I said even 10 years ago. I live in a black majority. I’m a white blond haired woman. Let me tell you this: Growing up outside Oakland CA, race is real. It’s stereotyped and it’s alarming. It doesn’t mean that everyone with a skin color different than yours belongs in that swatch, but when you turn on the news, it’s right there. Front and center. The reason color still matters is because of criminals, the news, and the constant reference to everything being racist. I really hope that going forward we ALL stop the color reference and focus on what really matters: this country sustaining it’s global positioning and economic power. That is a color blind issue.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Blankenship’s main crime, in addition to his racial slurs, was that he rolled back safety regulations at a mine, and then 28 people were killed in a mine accident that would not have happened were it not for Blankenship’s cost-cutting measures. Because of that, he is a convicted felon, which in my book should disqualify anybody from running for office.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, he did, and I am happy enough that Blankenship was sent back to the ash heap. But, as Jeff said, he didn’t do it because Blankenship is a convicted felon who is directly responsible for the loss of life in the mine accident. He did it only because he knew, as did you and I, that if Blankenship were the republican candidate, the democrat was more likely to win. It was politics rather than humanity. But, either way, it probably cost Blankenship the primary. Good enough.
      Hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh lord, Jill, I have tried and tried to think of something…anything really, that has been a benefit of the trump white house..and came up with two things.
    1. The rising activism of those who love this country, the Constitution and equal rights. The very fact that young people and the disenfranchised have been registering to vote has been a huge benefit, and I doubt it would have happened this quickly with trump in the white house.
    2. TPP. It was considered to be a terrible choice even by those who were encouraging the US to sign.
    I can not though agree with ANY of his choices of cabinet members, advisers or supreme court justices. None of them are close to being unbiased, and few of them are qualified for anything in governmental service.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Suze – I agree that we are all fired up. You’d be shocked to know that many of my 6k followers on Facebook are in fact gay, black, and trans. Yes, gay, black and trans. Although not all at once. Some are just gay, just black, and just trans. Some are gay and black, and some are gay and trans (yes that’s a thing). So far, no one has admitted to being a black trans who is gay. Go figure and do your thing. You know what’s weird? No one thinks sex and politics mix. I think they do, just not in the obvious “all (gay/trans) are liberals” way.

      I’m very concerned with your comment about Justice Gorsuch though. You’ve reviewed his record? Is there something that you find with impunity? Please consider sharing because I’d really like to understand that statement. Also, were you OK with Obama’s cabinet? Or Clinton’s? Was there the same wall-to-wall coverage of cabinet appointments and scrutiny then as there has been now with Trumps? Please also keep in mind that Trump has fired (or they *cough* resign) many of his early choices. Trump isn’t beholden to anyone, but I’re really curious as to who you would think would be good cabinet choices for a brash and brazen, in-your-face-President who doesn’t like “politics as usual”?

      Liked by 1 person

      • since Clinton has never HAD a cabinet I can not understand the question. No, I wasn’t happy with Mr. Obama’s cabinet..there were several who should have never set foot anywhere near governmental service. As for who would make up a “good” cabinet for this president, it doesn’t really matter. trump refuses to listen to anyone, demands loyalty for himself and NOT for the constitution, so anyone joining under those conditions is immediately suspect. Do you not recall that Mr. Obama had just as much difficulty getting his appointments approved? did you not pay hear when Mr. McConnell stated he would not approve anyone that was proposed? I would not be surprised at anyone’s followers actually, and frankly am amazed you thought I would be. I have multiple conservative followers. Does that amaze anyone really? I am confused as to why you would post all the “sex” comments. I didn’t mention it nor was I thinking of it at all. Seems that you are the one concerned about that particular subject dear…I couldn’t actually care.
        As to Neil Gorsuch…….the very fact that he is a strong proponent of “natural law” as opposed o “common law” annoys me and concerns me. I expect supreme court justices to interpret according to the constitution…not the Bible.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I was referring to President BILL Clinton. Also, I think I crossed your comment with another (was posting from my phone last night) and referenced the fact many conservatives don’t fit within a label typically given to us.

          I do recall there was push back – and rightly so – my question was whether the wall-to-wall coverage we see today but not then was a dichotomy in your opinion.

          Neil Gorsuch’s record is unimpeachable. He leans more to the right, but that does not make his position on the Constitution any less valuable.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ah. I can not abide Mr. Clinton, and had numerous problems with his cabinet. It crosses all ideologies so far as having stupid people in government. But again, in my opinion, Mr. Clinton was a babe in arms when it comes to the absolutely disgusting amoral tone of the present day white house. Frankly, I can not recall any coverage like we have had for the past 12 years. I think the “news media” started their abandonment of the news for salacious innuendo when Mr. Obama came into office. Fox and Breitbart in particular became household names for shoving fake conspiracies and pseudo-news in our faces at dinner each night. Regardless of Mr. Gorsuch’s record, I dislike his leaning to any side… what we need on the Supreme Court are men and women that put aside their personal opinions. He failed during his senate hearings to convince me and many others that he is willing to do just that.
            I deplore labels of any kind, actually. They belong only to establish a general slant of thinking..not individuals. While I believe through your statements that you are more conservative, I do not consider YOU to be a conservative. My thoughts may have me lean more towards the left..or progressives, yet I am not a progressive. I am, like you, multifaceted and really dislike when people think they “know me” or can predict how I will react based upon any political statements I make. It is refreshing to speak with one on a different side of the political aisle with responding respect. Thank you.

            Liked by 3 people

            • I’m right of middle – and struggle with claiming I’m Republican – especially in today’s reality that most Republicans are RINOs. In any case, the constant news cycle is harming us. Unbiased journalism is a thing of the past. Every article, every news broadcast, every comment is littered with opinion.

              As a perpetual student (going after my Psych degree now), I don’t think we can ever eliminate personality with judgement. This is why some lawyers hope for certain judges during court cases. The Supreme Court is tasked with interpreting the Constitution and writing opinions in support of or against (mostly) federal cases. I’m with you though – I’d prefer my judges to stick to the law.

              And thank you for continuing to be respectful. Nothing shuts me down faster than someone who calls me a nasty name or insists I get my news from Fox or Breitbart. Aside from listening to Maria Bartoromo and Stuart Varney on the way to and from the gym in the morning, I don’t listen to Fox. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you definitely on the first one. We, as citizens, had become rather complacent, apathetic even, and since the era of Trump, we are all more politically aware, more people are attending rallies, writing letters to the editor, writing blogs and speaking up wherever they can for the rule of law, the Constitution, honesty and integrity. TPP I am not as happy with, for I see it as we are missing some opportunities, but it isn’t one of the things I am most fired up about, either. And like you, he has not appointed a single person to his cabinet that was qualified for the position. Good job, Suze!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve tried very hard and found only one thing I can remotely agree with regarding President Trump. We both oppose neoliberal free trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), albeit for different reasons. Whereas Trump sees them as giving too much of America’s economic hegemony away to other nations, I see them as giving too much power to transnational corporations via democracy-destroying provisions like the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) written into the TPP.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Robert – is there really a qualifier for this needed? I do hope you have contacted your congressman or Senator with your concerns about provisions like the ISDS so the next agreement (and there will be one) reflect the voice of the people. And if your senator ignores your voice, I do hope you vote that swamp rat out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, the qualifier is needed because it identifies two political perspectives which are generally opposed to each other.

        Immediately after the TPP vote in Congress during Obama’s second term, I notified my two Democratic U.S. Senators that I would no longer vote for them in any election. It is a promise I’ve kept to date and intend to keep going forward unless their positions on trade change regarding ISDS.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Firstly I applaud you both for setting off this challenge.
    From outside and looking at a long game both back in history and forward to the future I cannot see anything which Trump and Trump alone can take credit for I see him as part of a phenomenom and riding a tide.
    I’m with Hugh and Gronda, after Trump has gone no one with any sense of duty or compassion will be complacent about politics in the USA.

    Liked by 6 people

    • No President should take credit alone for anything. Consider this what has the Trump Admin done that you can support?
      – Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
      – Leaving the Iran deal
      – Release of prisoners and summit with Kim Jong Un
      – Rising approval ratings
      – Two judges rebuke Mueller’s investigation
      – Making the economy great again

      I can go point by point on why this admin deserves credit, but wondering how you feel any of these can be a positive to you?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Posting from the UK:
        Once more I would like to applaud all of the ‘locals’ (Americans- us Brits still have a sneaking suspicion you made a mistake with the fuss in 1776 and so forth) for the most intelligent, polite and informative debate it has been my pleasure to witness on social media, ever.
        My own views on Trump are influenced by an historical perspective both from its lessons and the possibilities those lessons suggest.
        Whereas we all like to complain about our politicians and their deal-making, paring back on promises and shifting meanings; the issue the good ones face is having to make compromises in the administration of a democracy. Particularly a large and wonderfully diverse on such as The USA.
        My principal argument with Trump is that he is not a professional. That might read well in a Frank Capra Movie or in wry ‘Dave’, but in the long term does not bode well, nor does it suggest the nuances required for a complex and demanding job.
        Firstly I would like to illustrate my view by responding to your points:
        1. The Middle East is a region heady and weighed down with its history which goes back into the thousands of years. This move resonates deeply far beyond anything we in The West can appreciate and causes greater divides within the structures of the societies. This move places the USA in Arab eyes in the Israeli camp and thus the USA will n t be able to play the broker role, unless Trump is willing to make some dramatic equivalent gesture in Arab eyes.
        2. Iran does not need US approval. It is another nation with a very long history and one which has a very low opinion of western states in general. Its Revolutionary Guard is a state within a state with an economic arm which is long. Our best approach would be a long game of subtly supporting those opposed to the Revolutionary Guard. This move is tantamount to a congress of European states sending a note to the USA saying ‘We will impose sanctions on you until you apply stronger gun control laws’….It serves only to circle the wagons.
        3. North Korea’s Kim Jong Um is proving far too an astute character to be dismissed. Nuclear weapons on. Nuclear weapons off. Let’s be friends with our cousins in the South. Releasing three high profile political prisoners comes across as stage managed. We now have a situation that because Bolton has sounded off the talks are in danger of not taking place….A political dance Korean style. The president would need to be careful he is not being played. It won’t be the first time, even with astute
        professionals (I’m thinking Vietnam).
        4. An astute professional politician would be very wary of Approval Ratings, they can evaporate like rain puddles in a summer’s day. The public is votalie. Ask anyone who once rode high….Or for that matter was vilified. Consider LBJ as an example.
        5. I try to avoid wading into the USA because I am not qualified to understand 1/10th of its workings. All I would say here is to use an old maxim ‘Two swallows, does not a spring make,’
        6. Economy- Now here I must apologise. As Jill knows here speaks am a hard-left UK socialist, really hard:-state control of all public services, stronger regulations, you name it! Thus I have an ingrained suspicion of any Economy being ‘Great’ again until it’s being doing that for at least twenty years with no end in sight. A couple of years do not excite me, even less the statistics–I also used to work in the UK civil service so I have a very jaundiced opinion of stats….Heck I used make them up myself when it was necessary to paint a rosy picture. My own measurements would be: Are the majority content? Is poverty down to very low levels? Is there ‘full employment’?
        Finally, the once matter which really concerns me is the future of THE USA. Here is a young nation still with much potential but within that potential lies great pressures of a tectonic nature. Since at least the 1960s we have seen the strains and polarisations of the various communities each feeling under attack, to the extent that even hapless youths who haven’t got the stones to date girls are trying to make themselves an abused minority. The problem thus arises that a president should not place themselves in a situation where they can be willingly seen to support one group against another, in particularly the extreme wings. Trump has failed to win over even a part of the liberal wing. Now as a public servant (rtd) I know the pressure of having to try to get a person to see your side of the problem. But it has to be done, stridently abusing them, does not work.
        In short he has a lot to learn and quickly.
        In conclusion I really must follow your blog, so much to learn of the other point of view.
        Best wishes
        Roger

        Liked by 4 people

        • Roger, wow – will you be shocked that I agree with your assessment (except for socialism)? Yes, a conservative just agreed with a UK hard left liberal. Ready the banns, as they say on your side of the pond, you’re husband #3! JK of course about the marriage, but you get my point…

          Liked by 2 people

          • Hi there Lisa!
            Err…marriage… (Old fashioned British civility here)….Thank you for the offer. But been with my dear lady for 44 years now (anyway as she says…’ Remember darling I’ve read all the Agatha Christie books and know where the insurance policy is’).
            Seriously Lisa.
            I think there is much in the broad spectrum of politics that normal folk can agree on, it’s just how we get there which is the issue.
            In this everyone would be best realising everyone is different and work from there. Less shrill and more discussion and exchange of views, finding the common ground.
            I am socialist here, and reckon it would be best for this clutch of nations The UK, however this would never work in the USA. You all share an individualistic streak which is suspicious of govt. Whereas here in Europe we tendency to have a ‘Right you’re in power, sort it out for us’ approach and if ‘they’ don’t they get rowdy demonstrations, strikes, bad opinion poll readings and thrown out in the next election (or on the mainland, revolution)
            Actually I get on better talking to American folk of most political faiths….it’s those blasted fellow-countrymen of mine who say they are socialist, when they are obviously incorrect that I can’t get on with!!
            Best wishes
            Roger

            Liked by 2 people

            • Having engaged in a bit of a Facebook melee myself this evening (working off angst over school shooting), I can tell you that they would tear our sensible discussion to shreds. I used to write for Daily Kos, but I quit because no matter that I was calm and well-reasoned, I was called ‘stupid’ and other less-kind things with every article I wrote. Facebook is the same. Sometimes, though, it’s a good place to vent, as long as you get out before it causes steam to start coming from your ears. 😤

              Liked by 1 person

      • I am truly wondering what is so positive about your list of Donald accomlishments, Lisa?
        I really think that meddling in foreign affairs makes America an even bigger target for war.
        I hate all forms of war mongering. Most of them are subtle, like a child sneaking a toe, then an arm and then a body across a boundary line. Street Gangs operate in the same fashion.
        Our world shouldn’t be based on Superpowers holding the status quo. That is an illusion to keep the masses thinking they are safe while constantly working as slaves to pay for that illusion (your taxes pay for warfare).
        Until we break the illusion, we will all be sitting on one side or the other of the political divide, throwing rocks at each other.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Trump has been in office for only 15 months, but he deserves credit for the economic spike, the numbers of new jobs, the all time low black unemployment, increased net income, decimation of ISIS, greater state autonomy (reversal of regulations), repeal of the individual mandate, reversing laws that congress did not review/approve, tax code overhaul… all while the nation has been fixated on a collusion narrative that even the Left know is a big nothing burger; and a fascination with an alleged affair with a porn star over a decade before he ran for President, but who was paid off to keep her mouth shut. Those two topics are polarizing because they do I ate the Left wing news media 24/7. Honestly, I think psychologically the Left resists any positive thing Trump accomplishes because they can’t stand how he looks and talks. If these same accomplishments were done by say, Ted Cruz, the coverage would be there.

          “Our world shouldn’t be based on Superpowers holding the status quo” – you got that 💯 right!

          Liked by 2 people

      • moving the embassy to jerusalem was a giant mistake for middle easterners. It set Israel and Palestine on fire. Leaving the Iran deal was just plain stupid IMO…and returning to sanctions only harms others, not Iran. It also opens the door to Israel attacking Iran again.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I disagree – Palestine and Israel were already on fire. And all past Presidents (Clinton, Bush, and Obama) promised to do what Trump did – they promised but failed, Trump promised and kept it.

          I also disagree about the Iran Deal. Sanctions do work, and Israel has every right to defend themselves when Iran or the PLO fire missiles and storm their borders. What’s with the defense of Iran? You trust Tehran? I don’t.

          Liked by 1 person

          • from that website: “GDP Growth Rate in the United States averaged 3.21 percent from 1947 until 2018”. 2016 had a glitch in it. my word not, theirs. But overall, GDP was rising.

            Liked by 2 people

            • The problem with averages is it doesn’t factor in the outliers and over what period of time. Statistics matter when claiming a consistent rise in the past 20 years. I found another site that I think you’d find very useful: https://www.thebalance.com/us-gdp-by-year-3305543

              Sneak peak – and you’ll see there is no consistent rise, it ebbs and flows:
              1998: 4.5%
              2001: 1% (9/11)
              2005: 3.3% (Katrina)
              2007: 1.8% (bank crisis)
              2009: -2.8% (stimulus act)
              2012: 1.7% (sequestration – forced a cut in spending)
              2015: 2.9% (TPP, Iran deal)
              2016: 1.5 (Presidential race)
              2017: 2.3% (Trump tax act)

              So there is a trend line skewing left over the past decade, but when you look at the graphs over a longer period of time, you will see the trends favor a range of 2%-5% over the past 40 years. It goes up and down depending on world and/or current events/political acts. Forecasts for 2018 indicate a mild increase in growth to 2.6%.

              Do I think Trump is directly responsible for the increase since taking office? Not directly, but it’s happened under his watch.

              Liked by 1 person

    • At least for a decade or so, and then … they may go back to the same ol’ complacency. We seem, as you and I have discussed before, to forget the lessons of history, and eventually, thankfully, Trump will become history.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We may, just may not have that era of complacency. This is a very tough and challenging time and the end is a long way off. Hopefully there will be a consensual solution, the journey to which will lead to hard memories which will be very slow to fade…..we hope

        Liked by 1 person

        • True … maybe. But, there was Hitler, and while we haven’t forgotten him, still look back and say he was evil, a madman, the neo-Nazi movement is on the rise, and populist madmen such as Trump are being saluted. I’m just not trusting of human nature these days.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Cranky old socialist that I am, I still revere Hope Jill.
            The fact that in some nations to deny the Holocaust is an offense.
            The fact that we use terms such as Native American or African American.
            The fact that gay folk can marry in the UK.
            The fact that some Muslim groups in Egypt will gather outside of Coptic Christian Churches to ensure those inside can worship in peace.
            The fact that folks don white helmets in Syria…
            The fact that Indians and Pakistanis gather together to celebrate Cricket.
            There is always Hope…..

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks for the reminders, my friend. I think I’ve just been exposed … we all have … to too much negative news of late, especially with yesterday’s school shooting. Yes, there is always hope, as long as there is life.

              Liked by 1 person

                • Sheila is a wise woman … but then you already knew that. Yes, the school shootings in and of themselves are horrendous and take an emotional toll, but it is increased exponentially by the fact that time after time it happens, and our lawmakers refuse to act. A few simple steps could dramatically reduce the incidences of mass shootings in general, but they are more afraid of the NRA than they are the people who put them into office. And so … come September or October, after summer break, it WILL happen again. And again.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • Exactly! And after Parkland in February, one proposal was to raise the age at which a person can buy an assault weapon to 21, but no … the NRA had a hissy fit and said that was discrimination against 18-year-olds who were old enough to join the military and vote, but not buy a weapon. Fact is, they cannot buy alcohol, either. Think about that one a bit. 😤

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • We’ve got odd laws like that too.
                      Kids 14 or younger get binge-drunk but can’t buy the stuff at a supermarket until they at 20 something, but can go into a pub at 18.
                      Supermarkets ban all sorts of potentially dangerous tools to be sold to kids yet knife crime in London increases.
                      Adults are going wrong somewhere, too much of something…….
                      I got it!
                      Never mind ‘your rights’! What about ‘your’ responsibilities????? To your children, your neighbours and everyone else!
                      (I feel a tract coming on!)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • You’ve hit that nail on the head! Parents are too busy making and then spending money to be parents, to fulfill their duty to teach their children values, responsibility, compassion, etc. I have long referred to the current generation of adults as the ‘me-istic’ era, where one’s personal pleasure takes precedence over all else. “I just want to have fun” ” I just want to be happy” are phrases I hear every day. You write that tract, my friend … I shall be looking for it!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It might be a while coming, just got into a scrap on FB with folk who are nihilistically bad-mouthing UNICEF (OK I know it’s not perfect but something’s better than nothing)…I outed them on my recent post… might get into trouble for that …..SFW

                      Liked by 2 people

  8. Jill, I do apologize to you for the above rant. I don’t know but I may have hurt your attempt to discourse with the Snarky Activist. That was not my intention. But the more I thought about what I was writing, the more bleak the future looked, and the more passionate I became. I love this world and all the life on it, and I would hate to see it end. I feel I have to do everything I can to protect it and prolong it.

    Liked by 5 people

    • As Jill mentioned I’ve been distracted the last day+. My dog is dying and I’ve been putting in 10 hour work days. Not discouraged at all. In fact, I’d be pretty dismayed if her readers didn’t feel passionate.

      This is our country and we all live here. We have to care and if we don’t, why the hell are we here?

      Much love ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well Lisa, I am sorry about your troubles… Truly.
        And, I give you great credit for taking time to defend your principles here. This really isn’t Trump space and you are doing your best to defend him against all the odds.

        There is much talk of poverty here. That is something you do not currently experience (likely because you work hard to prevent it). But, there are many in the world who are never given the chance to climb out of poverty. I have met really poor people who can speak three languages fluently (so they are not lazy loafers). We must always be grateful for our position in life and give a helping hand, no matter how small to those less fortunate.

        I am reminded of a retired Right Wing Politician here in the UK; Michael Portillo, who is now a TV celebrity. He actually spent a week trying to live in poverty on a benefit handout. He described the experience as really bad and almost impossible. He said he would never want to repeat the experience because of the hardship.

        My point is that we can all be sanctimonious about our political viewpoint, but reality is often so much worse than the media rhetoric.

        Money markets go up with wars (creates jobs and manufacturing), so Donald’s effect on the Dow Jones is a similar effect. He creates the turmoil that the economy thrives on. This is a mechanism that would thrive under AI Cyborgs or computer number crunching. It has little to do with humanity itself.

        Consider what real freedom would look like? It is not the working 10 or 12 hr days that you are doing now. It is not the helpless sight of your dog dying because you are not home to comfort him. True freedom is to enjoy life and do whatever gives you and your family health, protection and Joy.

        Society does not have freedom, not under Donald, not under Hillary, not under Barack, not under any of the Bush’s.
        We are all slaves to a civil service that grinds away through our civilization like a mechanical monster. Whoever is the flavour of the day, left or right, never changes that awfulness for the little guy at the bottom.

        I hope your ‘Donald’ comes through for you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will soon crash and burn!
        As soon as the Dow Jones starts to tumble, there will be consequences, and the Mechanical Monster will get a new leader to front the operation.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks Collette, I’m not trying to defend Trump, he has plenty to do that, including himself. I am however hoping people can find middle ground, can hear each other’s views on a given subject, and realize that polite debate of public policy is always better than rude insults meant to attack the poster.

          As Jill pointed out, I’m not the kind of activist who will insult a liberal or shut down a conversation. I am snarky in my blog posts about ridiculous/hypocritical things people say or do, but in discourse 1:1, no. I refuse to be labeled as an asshole.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. Off the cuff, I cannot think of anything good the Donald has done, but I live in Canada where almost everything we hear about him are his blunders and outright stupid moves. I’m sorry, Lisa, because I am all for face-to-face open, respectful, dialogue, but without help I am not going to see your side of this equation.
    Rugby843 mentioned the revamping of the coal industry, which can be considered a good thing for coal workers, but as coal is one of the worst polluters ever used by humans, killing billions for the sake of creating jobs for however many would gain employment can never be considered a plus. I’m sorry, Rugby, but this is not a plus for DT, it is a minus for Mother Nature and all the people and other living beings this world supports.
    And I think that statement about DT just about sums him up for me, he doesn’t care about the world or its future, he cares about himself in the here and now. What is he going to do when all the lower classes have died off, who is going to shine his shoes and pick ip his garbage? Who is going to grow food and slaughter life so he can survive in the manner to which he has grown accustomed? Who is going to build his castles for him?
    Even if he has done “one thing” right, and I am not against accepting that he might have done something right, when the scales of life are weighed, they will never balance in his favour. One good thing is not enough. He has created so much harm for so many beings that he will be judged worse than Hitler and Stalin put together, even if he does not openly kill people with his direct orders. His policies, if they can be called that, can cause the end of life on this planet. No other leader in the history of humanity can have that said about them, not one. Only Donald Trump!!!!!

    Liked by 6 people

    • $Amen$ one thing I greatly enjoy about Trump is his way of wearing really long ties. I do that too, when I need to wear ties, that is. I’m kind of a nervous type, and I find having a long tie gives me something to fiddle with whilst I’m wearing it. I’m also fascinated by his hair. I really mean this in a good way. As someone who has a odd pattern of hair loss, I’m deeply curious as to what his technique is for keeping his “full head of hair look” going. Plugs? A fancy toupee? Hair growing cream? Not sure, but whatever he does, he does that well. Other than these things, well, like Moses once said to his manicurist, Henry Bernemburgers, ” Henry, since I can’t say anything nice about my true feelings on the Pharaoh, I’ll not say anything at all. OUCH! Go easy on my thumbnails, will ya’! That hurt!”

      Liked by 3 people

    • I appreciate the comment even though you remain unconvinced eh? A little Canadian humor.

      Off the cuff, do you think his support and love for our law enforcement is a good thing? He backs the blue big time. This is quite a departure from the past several years where disrespect for law enforcement was the norm du jour. Or what about simplifying our tax filings? Granted you are not an American, but let me overshare here. Because I own 3 houses (1 in Virginia and 2 in Georgia), and have multiple investments, my filings cost about $2k a year. It’s that complicated. My CPA estimates with the new tax laws, her fees will go down by half. So in addition to the added $200 per paycheck net, my fees go down by another $1k, and her projections for 2019 returns are another $2k in refunds. Honey, from where I sit, I will be able to donate more to my homeless shelter and pet causes. Now that’s called choice!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I can see that it is choice for you. But what choice is he leaving for the poor, who already cannot afford rent, or health care? Where is the choice for people who no longer get0 food stamps or their equivalent?
        And where is the choice for young black men who die daily at the hands of police? Or for students unned down by semi-automatic weapons?
        Or people who were born in the States to “illegal aliens”? Or who arrived there as children of undocumented immigrants?
        You may have the choice of what you are going to do with your extra tax refunds? I’m happy you are going to donate them to charities. But how many others who will be profiting from that tax bill will be donating to charities? And why do charities even have to exist?
        On trillion dollar national debt loads, and who knows how much in state debt loads, who is receiving the money from the $100bilion interest payments? Not the poor for damn sure. And not the middle class either. Those interest payments are going to the rich, who already have more than they can spend in their lifetimes. Try walking in the shoes of the homeless for a year, feel what it is like to be disrespected for wearing rags, what it is like to be bullied because someone knows you can’t fight back. No, I will never be on Trump’s side for anything. I am a humanist, among other things. I don’t look away when I see the downtrodden, the crackdwellers, the unprivileged, and the forgotten.
        What you do with your excess money might be good for your heart, but what is it doing for your spiritual growth?

        Liked by 3 people

        • You’ve packed quite a rant into your reply. I probably won’t rebut every comment, but leave you to ponder a few.
          1) who was stripped of food Stamps?
          2) where is the outrage about cops who kill white suspects (which exceeds the number of blacks) – or the outrage of blacks who kill other black (which is a staggering 90%)?
          3) students should feel safe – whether it’s a gun or a knife. We just won’t agree how to protect kids and not penalize the 99.9999% of all legal gun owners who do not commit mass shootings.
          4) most people with excess cash in their product return that money to the GDP in the form of purchasing goods and services. That keeps the cycle of economy moving.
          5) why do charities have to exist? Because humans care about causes.
          6) interest payments? I’ll address social security – interest payments on the deficit are paid into the social security reserve. It’s not much by the way, interest payments fell about 15% to 6% between 1990 and today.
          7) some, not all, of my ‘excess’ money is given indirectly to Help, Inc a non profit serving my local homeless and women’s shelters. And directly because I always keep cash in my wallet, to give to every homeless person I see. I estimate I give about $100 in cash directly. With a handshake, an introduction, and a wish for future prosperity. The rest of my contributions are split across various pet rescues. As for my spiritual growth, that’s between me and my God, but don’t question my spirituality as a way to imply I’m less than ‘something’.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Good try. I did not question your spirituality, all I did was tell you my opinion about why you are here. If you leave this world a better person than when you arrived, you have advanced your spiritual being. If you leave it without advancing your spiritual being, or by devolving, then you have wasted your lifetime, although nothing is ever a total waste, as long as you learn something from your aliveness.
            I would love to address each of your points separately, but that would take too much time and space, so I’ll just hit a few until I run out of steam, or hy hand gets too sore, or my tablet runs out of power, lol.
            1. People who are not working, even if they were not capable of working, we’re stripped of the extra funds they were being given for food, according to my readings. Not being American I cannot tell you the exact bill that stripped them of this help, and yes, I know I cannot believe everything I read, but when Trump denies something, you can pretty much believe the opposite of what he says.
            2. I am outraged by anyone anyone else kills, I respect life too much to have it treated so disrespectfully. But when the cops shoot innocent peple in the back or elsewhere, that is worse than just disrespectful, but outright disgraceful. How many innocent white or Hispanic or Aboriginal people get shot by cops, I don’t know, we don’t hear those figures up in rural Canada. But when black people are mistreated this way, we hear about it. So talk to your media, have them make bigger deals of innocent people getting shot, no matter who they are. I have no control over that.
            3. There should be no such thing as “legal” gun owners. There is no need for people to own guns. Hunting living animals is and should be no less a crime than hunting people. All life deserves to live to its natural end. Guns should not even exist!
            4. Who have the economy ever helped? Only the rich. Prices for the necessities of life keep going up and up and up, yet earning power keeps going down and down and down. If the rich are putting all their excess money back into the GDP, why are there banks? Why is there so much money in banks? How do you explain millionaires and billionaires? That kind of money is not necessary for life. Share it with everyone else. Can you even imagine what life would be like for everyone if people didn’t hoard money? Sorry, but rich people’s bullshit about the GDP belies the reality of homeless people, and people without health care, and families with no food on the table. Because I am trying to be nice to you, I won’t call you a fool for thinking with your money-lust, but everything you say screams “Me first.” Sorry, but that is not an acceptable stance in that his world. “Life first” is the real motto we should be living by. Even the Bible says that. But that he bible was written by men, not by a god, so it says that indirectly, not openly. There is always room left for interpretation.
            5. Why do charities exist? was intended as an existential question. Charities exist because people need them, obviously, but why to people need them in the first place? Because they are trampled on, uprooted, displaced, and disrespected. Because they are stolen from, underpaid, cheated, and lied to. Because there is money to be made from them, making them wage-slaves barely able to make it from paycheck to paycheck. And keeping them down is what allows other people to feel themselves better than those below them. As Shakespeare says, we all end up food for bugs. No one of us is better than another.
            6. Interest on the national and state debts is not paid into any reserve fund, it is paid to whomever loaned the money to the governments in the first place. When you make a loan from a bank, you don’t pay yourself the interest. No, you pay interest to the bank. That’s what you already called the GDP, only this takes money OUT of the GDP, without putting anything back into it.
            7. By giving a hundred dollars here, or even a thousand dollars there, how are you hurting yourself? You’re not giving away anything you need. You’re not taking food off your table and giving it to someone else. You aren’t putting yourself out by any stretch of the imagination. Try donating one of your houses to help house the homeless, or to house the poor. Try donating 1/10th of your income to charities, try donating 35% of your bank account to the betterment of others. That is what poor people do when they see someone more needy than them. They share. They hurt themselves. I don’t know you, but I do not see you hurting yourself intentionally. And that is what true charity means?

            Liked by 4 people

            • Did your hand cramp or tablet power finally give – that was a long reply! But thank you for it.
              1) I think you need to trust I’ve done my research – no one has been stripped of food stamps.
              2) I wish our media cared about any wrongful death, but headlines and click-bait win. In a nation currently obsessed by race, black-on-black crime doesn’t sell the same as white cops killing a black suspect. Hint: don’t run from the cops, don’t try to grab their weapon, and don’t pretend or act like you have one.
              3) Second Amendment. I’ll leave it mostly at that. I don’t need to justify my Sig Sauer or my AR-15. It is my RIGHT to own them, use them, and my obligation to ensure its safety. Note: Neither have ever left their cases without me, nor have their ever fired themself.
              4) Everyone benefits from a healthy economy. The billionaire donates millions to charities and foundations. These organizations hire employees, buy goods, deliver services. The employees have money to raise families, buy goods and services. The goods and services being bought mean businesses can grow, hire employees, buy goods and services. See where I’m going here? Without the billionaires and millionaires, we would not have innovation. Where’s the incentive? Why should we expect a mogul (think Jeff Bezos), who has assumed great financial risk to start a global empire to be paid the same as the janitor?
              5) Not all charities support the down-trodden. Many charities supports the arts, disasters, doctor’s without borders, YMCA, etc. Now see if your response changes?
              6) You need to understand how US deficit works and do more research on this. I did before I replied to you.
              7) I tithe 10% to my church (which granted you didn’t ask and I didn’t offer), but I think you expect way too much of people to burden their life to support someone else’s. Not saying it’s right or wrong, and I’m not asking you how rich or poor you are either – as that doesn’t matter. Every individual, regardless of where they live, or how much they earn, should freely give of themselves (in whatever way they feel most comfortable) in order to help their causes. I don’t expect or demand others to do what I do (or more.)

              Liked by 1 person

              • For now, all I will say is I depend on others for their research, I am not comfortable around computers and never have been. But I do like that I get to meet people I would otherwise never have met. Such as you. I am sure if we keep on talking we will find common ground somewhere, but so far we are in two totally different universes. I am a philosopher, and a student of life. I have lived with money, and without money (I’ll take without, any day of the week).
                I can fairly honestly say that without Trump in the picture I would not have said a lot of what I said to you, but Trump is in the picture, and he is destroying the world I live in, as well as the society I grew up in. Certainly he did not do it himself, but he appointed himself head spokesperson for the far right, so he gets what he asks for. I don’t hate the bastard, but I certainly don’t love or like him. I will dance when he is dead..
                Meanwhile, life goes on…

                Liked by 2 people

  10. Donald Trump is a sharp business man and has turned American politics upside down. He has exposed human nature for what it is by admitting he is part of it warts and all. He came into his own at a ripe time when already men were being exposed for their sexually forward attitudes and a new transparency was showing us all that celebrities , professional men , religious leaders were found to contain flawed individuals. He demonstrated that when people feel they want more they will vote to get more without too much concern about the long term effects.
    He arrived at a time when we were all made aware by men like Steven Pinker that we are not blank slates and have the potential for bad as well as good.
    Asia’s is now the home to most billionaires and China ( those dirty communists) lead the world , and proves the point that inequality is never far from any type of government . Donald recognises economic strength and he is already adapting to the rise of Chinese economic strength.
    Europe’s equivalent of Donald Trump is the wave of migrants they have had the same effects on European politics pushing things to the right.

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    • I agree about China to an extent, but I’m completely confounded by the sexual comments you made. I’d love a clarification. You do know that DJT came into the spotlight 50 years ago and into infamy in the 80s right? I don’t think he exposed human nature, it’s been there and you’d have to have been in a coma to not see that men have dominated all industries until the 90s. Please do reply because I may be reading you comment wrong. 💋

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      • I’m in the UK and only came across Mr Trump as he struggled for election, most people realised here was a new type of person and a love / hate relationship quickly grew up among the voting population and the on looking world. Human nature had not changed but it quickly became more exposed . The centuries of male domination was questioned in business and sexual matters and is still being challenged. Mr Trump was a fine example of a forward male , out for what he could get in the business world and in the world of men / women relationships. He was what might be called a go getter unashamed of his tactics. Those who had be told in the past by politicians they must be good boys and girls and help the less fortunate were suddenly released from such constraints — it was all out every man for himself , everything was up for grabs.
        Live drink and be merry for tomorrow we die was the new order and as you know this side of human nature can be unpleasant for sensitive souls like staunch democrats and they believe as I do that we must control our baser instincts. We had the same release of hidden human nature when The Iron Lady ( Maggie Thatcher ) grabbed the driving seat in the UK.
        Reading your comment and noting the Snarky title I suspect you many well have feminist leanings so perhaps I should say I believe in the equality of men and women but I’m convinced the inequality of wealth among the world’s population is by far the worst feature of humanity, and it is one that has been sustained since history began.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m still not sure what to make of the comment about sexual nature, but I’d say we likely first became aware of the political power = sexuality during the 60s. Sparked from the flower power movement and awakening of the female sexuality and women’s rights, and during the new fascination with Kennedy, who at the time the youngest and best looking President and we had TV and the awakening of hungry news. I’d also argue that it was during Queen Elizabeth’s early reign that we became globally aware of power-sex-politics. Not sure what any of this has to do with Trump though.

          Also, I’m not a feminist by today’s third wave definition. I’m a feminist by the first wave. Regardless of sex, race, color, everyone should have equal opportunities. What the individual does with that opportunity is up to them.

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          • Equal opportunity is not possible since we are all born with different amounts of talent . My IQ is about 105 so I would never have made a particle physicist , add to this I’m rather introverted so a car salesman would have been no good. There is another serious snag preventing equal opportunity,that is family background ; in the UK those with a poor background have been shown to have less chance even if their abilities were up to the challenge. So since God created us all unequal the best we can go for is equal value as human beings but the problem here is earnings since society values us according to our earning capability.
            Now your point about the individual and what they do or fail to do with their opportunity ; once again it may have some validity in our rich western democracies but do not forget millions live on $2 per day and are in destitute situations. I’m very fortunate to have been born into one of the world’s richest nations and it has ensured I have a high standard of living compared to many more unfortunate people.

            Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m not well read on this subject, but I do see the depressed citizens of our area in WY, and parts of CO as a result of declining jobs in the mining and oil industry. As a grandmother I am torn between future generations’ health, air quality, etc, but also see the result of all the job loss. The only thing I can think halfway positive about is revamping the coal industry, the only one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m a bit torn on this to be honest – on the one hand, we have flyover states with rampant poverty who struggle and industry there if only it didn’t have the stranglehold. On the other, I worry that the state swamp rats will look the other way on existing EPA rules that remain in effect. But Trump cares about the right now and how to help people out food on the table and some coin in their pockets – and believes rightfully that states need to own up to their responsibilities. Big brother Federal doesn’t need and should not set rules for every state. That is just pure overreach.

      Liked by 1 person

      • See my comment to Rugby. Trump cares about the here and now, but failing to look at what we are doing to the future is a costly mistake. There is no long-term future for coal. Not in the U.S., anyway.

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    • The thing is that there is no future for the coal industry. To quote from a recent OpEd by Nobel economist Paul Krugman: “Solar and wind basically out-compete coal-fired power now even without any public policy to make them do that. There are way more people now who are employed in solar than there are in coal. So, coal is not coming back. The question should be what can we do for what used to be coal country — not what can we do to bring coal jobs back, because that’s about as practical as bringing back the buggy whip industry.”

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  12. From my chair, it appears that most politicians and even would-be politicians; are in debt to the bankers before they even start. It goes without saying, they know the secret handshake. A society like this then, excludes most from bringing independence to the job. Doesn’t matter about the labels Conservative, Liberal or whatever. They all go to the same schools anyway and many of them are related. As for Mr. Trump? I’m glad it wasn’t the Clinton Crime Family .. That were the choices last time. A Catastrophe or a Disaster … The bankers call the tune and the politicians dance to it. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dayum – spot on! I’m still not convinced that even a “businessman” is immune to the secret handshake, but Trump is not beholden to anyone. Case in point: look how many of his cabinet and inner circle he’s said “You’re Fired” to…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hasn’t Mr. Trump been “bankrupt” four times? If so? Then there is leverage. Chapter 11 is not exactly “bankrupt” Just a corporate way, of managing mis-management? If anyone truly believes the politicians run the show? Well there. there is some delusion? I imagine most corporate leaders are knowing that hand stuff, signs, etc. Who was it? Albert Pike. Both Masonic and KKK leader? If one trolls the interweb, you will find stealth videos of Masonic meetings. Plenty of well known faces on them. I would guess that even Sir Paul signed on, for example. Given the “Paul is dead” inside jokes. It was all designed by Adam Weishaupt. How to capture the world for zionism.

        Liked by 1 person

        • He has filed bankruptcy a total of six times, with investors losing millions each time. Additionally, he has been involved in more than 5,000 lawsuits, some for racial discrimination, some for failure to pay his contractors, and many over his casinos.

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      • Ahhhh … but I would argue that Trump is, indeed, beholden to many. He is beholden to the wealthy donors to whom he made certain promises back in 2015-2016. He is beholden to the NRA. I suspect he has some level of commitment to a number of others, as well, perhaps including Vladimir Putin. Much of the legislation he fights for, the executive orders he signed, has been to keep a promise, not to his constituents, his base, but rather his backers.

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        • You lose me with any argument involving Putin. Also, what proof do you have that he is beholden to the NRA? He supports gun rights, that doesn’t make him beholden to the NRA. In fact, Trump supports stronger gun control and reversed Obama’s bump stock allowance. If you have proof of any of your wild claims, cited of course, I’ll read them.

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  13. My view is obviously the outsiders one.I have really struggled with this question actually putting Mr Trump in the White House as a normal functioning President without a twitter following. The only thing I could think of was his suggestion at one time that the children of illegals who have never known another home would be taken care of. I didn’t mean it in quite the way he did. I can’t even credit him with the North Korean initiative since the suggestion seemed to come from Kim Jung Un himself despite the unsavory war of words that went before..
    Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • If SoKo credits Trump with this, why can’t you?

      Also, I absolutely believe he wants a permanent solution for DACA. He challenged our idiot congress to make it permanent last Sept and what did they do? Nothing – not a single thing. We cannot gift permanency to illegal aliens without addressing root causes of the problem or in 5 years, we have another wave to address. I’ve done extensive research on this topic and trust me, I’m for a pathway – but also think once the illegal immigrant is legitimized, California agri prices will shoot through the roof. I think as a Cali native, it’s as if they don’t want to rise up the illegal. Call it the new Plantation Slaves.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The problem with the DACA bill was Trump wanted it tied to the funding for his multi-billion dollar wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. We cannot fund that wall, for it is not necessary, it is horrendously expensive, and it would not solve the problem of illegal immigration from the south. Fortunately the courts stepped in on DACA, but a long-term solution must be reached. My understanding is that Congress has a bill and is ready to pass it, but the leaders will not allow it to come up for a vote. Too much political game-playing. And the DACA dreamers … it would be cruel and inhumane to send them back to a country that they do not even remember, where they have no family, no friends, when their lives are here in the U.S. Many are working toward lucrative careers and contributing to our economy. They are people. Humans. When did we decide money was more important than human lives? 😥

        Liked by 1 person

        • Like I said, I’ve done extensive research on this topic – would you be surprised to know the Becerra actually espoused the need in 2006 for a better wall, one that was unbreachable, and extended along the full southern border? The porous border is a problem and if even one tenth of border crossing were prevented, the wall would pay for itself in less than a decade. Yes. The average cost per deportation is ~$10k. We deport ~285k people a year. Many of which are NOT the Visa overstayers, these are repeat crosses who have committed crimes (beyond simply crossing illegally).

          I’m a rarity in conservative circles because I actually agree about DACA – give them a path. But put an end to the program, fix the immigration process, fix the porous border (only ~700 miles of the ~2500 southern border is currently protected), and end sanctuary cities. You can’t do one without all – that won’t work.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well … I’m against the wall, for reasons I’ve already stated. But to the bigger issue … what is so bad about immigrants? The tired old argument that they take “our” jobs is just that, tired. They do the jobs that nobody in this country will do, and for a rate that nobody would accept. The vast majority are good people, hard working people. Our culture is enriched by blending with other cultures. And what about the words on the Statue of Liberty? “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Have we strayed so far from the notion that we offer a safe haven to all who need it?

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            • I never said immigrants are not welcome. I also don’t use the cliche they take out jobs.

              Immigration laws are necessary and allow us to control the influx of new arrivals we can financially support. Yes. Support. Every arrival bears a specific cost in basic services that every resident has. It’s ~$6k per year and includes emergency care, schooling, policing, roads, parks, etc.

              The “give us your tired…” is actually a tired rebuttal because times have changed – especially in the last 100 years. We have over 300M citizens and I think around 30M foreign residents (permanent and temporary), and nearly 13M undocumented/illegals.

              I’ve done the math – the impacts to the US are not currently with the tax burdens they represent (~$8k net loss because they are underpaid on average and nearly 40% do not file state or federal tax returns – thus the taxes they do pay are in nominal payroll deductions and state/local sales tax, however you have to keep in mind a large majority send most of their disposal income to their home states so they aren’t buying goods and services anywhere near the same rates as citizens and legal residents).

              The benefits they provide to the economy actually have never been quantified, much to my dismay. As a native Californian, I don’t pretend those benefits are insignificant. They’re not. But if you legitimize 13M illegals, the net deficit (that we absorb with difficulty already and at great cost the state budgets) will increase dramatically. Entitlement programs will not sustain these undereducated and underpaid people. They will qualify for aid. And legitimacy means they won’t do these labor jobs at the same low pay, which will drive up the costs for agricultural goods and all industries employing them will see their costs rise. This will impact all American consumers.

              I honestly think this is why no one will truly solve this.

              Even so, the current issue isn’t about entitlements or the economic disruption, the issue is about national security.

              Give us your tired… what do you know about human trafficking and drug smuggling coming from the southern border? Turning a blind eye to illegal entry keeps that industry rich and strong.

              America is the land of opportunity until laws are ignored, and our ability to support those legally here is eroded. At that point, we will no longer be a world power. We will be a nation in magnified debt with incredible poverty.

              Liked by 1 person

              • WOW!!! Take a deep breath now! This may well be a good topic for our next debate, yes? You pose many valid points, and I have rebuttals for some, agree with you on others, but unfortunately I am short on time tonight. A few points, though. The vast majority of immigrants, and I am including those from the Middle-East as well, are people seeking an opportunity to be safe, to work and earn a living, to take care of their children and see that they get a good education. Personally, yes, I am a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ and I think those are basic things that everybody should be entitled to. Certainly we must do what we can to make sure they are honest people with good intentions, but most are. As to the drug smuggling? That will go on if we close every single border and let nobody enter or exit the U.S.

                I have learned more in the past three years about refugees and immigrants than I knew in the first 60+ years of my life. I live in an attached townhome community, and my neighbors on one side are refugees from Syria, and my neighbors on the other side are immigrants from Mexico. Both families have children who go to school and get excellent grades, the men in both families are gainfully employed and pay taxes. And they are the kindest people I know. If I need anything or have a problem, they are right there to help. We share holiday meals, and I have free reign to borrow their car any time I need it (I currently am car-less). So, I tend to view Trump’s rants about immigrants a bit differently than people who have no ‘up-close-and-personal’ experience.

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    • Thanks David! It would have been a feather in his cap if he had followed through with DACA, but instead, the courts had to step in and say he couldn’t deport them. That is still in limbo, with Congress ready to pass a bill to protect them, but certain elements keeping it from coming up for a vote. Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Jill, much of what you write about attempts to portray truths and facts that are missing from the tribalism. As an independent and former Republican, too many do not pay attention to facts and real news. As I have often said, the biggest purveyor of fake news and Trump’s worst enemy stares back at him when he shaves.

    On the good side, the economy continues to do well as we are in the 107 consecutive month of growth, the second longest in our history. Plus, we have had seven consecutive years of 2 + million in job growth. But, Trump has only been President for sixteen months. It did not turn on when he took the oath.

    I do applaud the effort to explore where we could pare or improve some regulations. This added some momentum, but in several areas we went to far, especially the environmental ones.

    I also supported reducing the corporate tax rate, but again we went too far and are significantly increasing our already huge and growing debt problem. Absent change, our $21 trillion debt will be around $33 trillion in 2027,

    I applaud the forthcoming discussions with Kim Jong Un, but I worry we are getting played. But, I hope I am wrong. I do not see him giving up existing nuclear weapons, but he may give up testing new ones – in part because one of the sites may have caused a radiation leak which was reported.

    Yet, my main concerns are his normative lying, demeaning and vindictive behavior., his poor management skills, and retrenching from our role as a global leader. Between pulling out of several multiparty agreements, introducing tariffs and sanctions on allies and making decisions contrary to American security, I feel less safe under his tutelage.

    This is what I believe. The economy is going well, but we are borrowing from our future to make a good one a little better. Keith

    Liked by 5 people

    • Keith I can’t disagree with this – he does seem way too egotistical and megalomaniac- not gonna pretend there. I think despite that, he sincerely wants to make his mark by carrying through with the America First and MAGA agendas. And to that end, we will see uncertainty until the dust settles. I don’t know Trump personally of course, but I’ve seen similar characteristics in others over my many decades and psychology studies – I posit that his personal demeanor is what is going to set America back on track as a world nation to respect. Your insights are good and I hope you keep an open mind and watchful eye as the tides start to shift.

      As for the economy and the deficit. The market shot up dramatically post election and if you follow it and listen to all sides, you’ll hear the market has confidence in Trump and this is the reason. The deficit is not likely to correct itself even a little, not until RINOs and Democrats stop layering pork belly into Omnibus Bills and actually pass a budget, not a CR. And for the love of all that is good, we don’t need to subsidize studies to identify the genitalia of ducks or how many college students binge drink. Isn’t that what private foundations are for? You know this though, so I probably didn’t need to say that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah ah ah ah ah … CHOO! Sorry … catching Miss Goose’s cold. No, seriously, I have to argue just a bit here when you speak of ‘pork belly’. This is the biggest ideological difference between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives … the humanitarian element. We have the largest military budget in the world. In the WORLD. And yet, the current administration would like to cut funding for: feeding the poor; health care and housing subsidies, again for the poor; and public education (to name a few). We truly do not need any more nukes, planes, tanks or warships, but we need to take care of people. I would gladly see a tax increase if it were used to improve our ailing education system, or to provide health care for families living under the poverty line, or make sure no child goes to bed hungry at night. To me, the government exists for the benefit of the people. Trump calls them lazy and wants to make it harder for the single mother, already working two subsistence-level jobs, to put food on the table. No. Just no. Sorry … this is not finding something he’s done right, is it? But this is important to me. I’ve been homeless once. I’ve worried about how to feed my children. Right now, I cannot afford to buy my medicines in the U.S. and have to order them from Canada, for it sames me more than $1,000 a month! So, to me, all that is not ‘pork belly’, but humanitarianism. Sorry … I didn’t really mean to step up on my soapbox. Stepping down gently now … 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • You and I agree about the ridiculous cost of medicines in the US. You heard the breaking news yesterday about Trumps new plans to REDUCE those costs right? I heard it while flipping radio channels between Fox Business (I’m a Maria and Varney fan) and CNN. I haven’t looked into specifics but keep your eyes open there. Of course, congress will Mrs that up because of their lined pockets – but let’s see.

          The U.S. military has experienced a rash of military accidents in the air and at sea, with aircraft-related crashes up nearly 40 percent since 2013. From destroyers colliding with commercial vessels in the Western Pacific to a downed Harrier jump jet in Djibouti, the last several months have seen several highly publicized accidents, many of which involved fatalities. At least one investigation has correlated the rise in accidents with a defense budget cuts. Do you that is ok?

          I’m glad you were able to rise up about your own situation that found you homeless. My current husband was homeless. I love him, but he allowed himself to get there. He was perfectly capable of working, but he defiantly resisted employment for his own reasons. Don’t misunderstand this example – because I’m well aware of our growing homelessness problem in major cities – in fact 1:5 are homeless now in Cali. Many of these “new homeless” work in good paying jobs and their situation is related to affordable housing. A 700sqft apt should never cost $2k+/mo. There are 28M able bodied on Medicaid, Food stamps and other government assistance. Explain why expanding those entitlements are a good thing when people are current disincentivized to rise up on their own?

          To conservatives, we push for individual accountability and responsibility and sometimes you need a hand up. Temporary help. It’s necessary and correct. What isn’t necessary is being able to support yourself but choosing to exploit a system because the policies today are ridiculously lax. The days of blind hand outs need to go away.

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  15. I suspect China is behind it, but Trump would like to take the credit for reducing the tensions between North Korea and the West. I don’t know if he has been “instrumental,” but any role he may have had is a plus….and Heaven knows he needs a plus or two to balance the many minuses!! Quite the challenge, this!

    Liked by 4 people

      • Dear Hugh, Jill, and Ms. Snarky,

        I am with Hugh on this one. President Trump has awoken in many of us a love for the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and all the thinking our forefathers put into drafting these documents just for the day when a President Trump would become the US president. His arrival on the scene has turned many of us into activists where we realize that we can’t take what makes this country great for granted but we need to fight to protect these blessings like the “rule of law,” a free press, a place where folks can come here with nothing, a fifth grade education but still have a real chance to make something of their lives here and to contribute in a major way to our country.

        The president helps me to place tremendous value on attributes like decency, manners, treating others with respect and dignity, kindness, generosity, etc.

        He reminds me that we are all flawed with shortcomings.

        There is a lot that he is teaching all of us.

        Hugs, Gronda

        Liked by 4 people

      • See? That wasn’t hard at all! He did awaken a sleeping complacency that so many of us have had in the past. We are now more aware on all sides of the political spectrum, more inspired, more concerned, more everything. He gets those props 💯.

        As for China – he’s forged a tenuous alliance of sorts with Xi Jinping and like the previous comment, they know he is not one to pussyfoot. He refuses to let America be a door mat in order to keep the peace. We’ll all wait and see what happens as trade negotiations proceed, but I would recommend folks avoid buying Made In China. That goes for Trump merchandise (cuz I know you all want to buy the Tshirt “Fuck Your Feelings”, right?)

        Liked by 1 person

        • While we’re on this topic … how can Trump say he wants us buying products made in the U.S., when all of Ivanka’s products are manufactured overseas, some in sweatshops? Just one of those things I have been curious about, for it seems a bit ironic. 😉

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          • I think Trump has been pretty clear on this one – China has manipulated their currency to keep exports cheap. On top of that America has had a largely cheap trade tariff on goods imported. I’ve seen the photos of the “sweatshops” and I see no young children and their working and rest quarters do not scream abuse.

            America used to have a robust industrial complex here but those have diminished for the reasons noted above. If America made it more favorable (or at least comparable) to manufacture clothing, shoes, etc here, you’d see more American business making it in America. Give it time.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Another day, another time, I will give you some examples of the sweatshops, but tonight I am just trying to catch up so I can get in bed sometime before 4:00 a.m. for a change. 😉 But more to the point, it just seems that regardless of convenience or cost, if his policy is to be taken seriously, his own family ought to be setting the example.

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    • Well, I am more of a pessimist than you, my friend, but I’ll ride with you on this one, pending the final outcome. At the moment, it is looking rather bleak, and i have not held high hopes for any meeting between Trump and Kim to begin with, for with two hot-headed bullies … almost anything that can go wrong, will. Yes, I’m sure China has a role, but I’m not sure to what extent.

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  16. Actually, I have always said that there is good as well as bad in everyone.

    I am not a fan of Donald Trump, but I do not consider myself as anything more than a humanist… Neither left, nor right leaning, I tend to judge everyone at face value regardless of politics, creed or ethnicity.

    Donald is brusque, even crass when it comes to articulation about political issues. There is no gentle pussy-foot diplomacy in his approach. This appeals to some as straight talking and shooting from the hip before dialogue occurs with opposing forces. I am not sure that this creates ‘friends’ in the world, but Donald certainly seems to get what he wants, and for his supporters, that means they get what they want.

    The one good thing that Donald has created, is enough controversy to make his allies and enemies alike, realise that he is not a man to be bullied or threatened. He just thrives on that sort of challenge. Nor does he respond to diplomatic rhetoric. Donald is a man of action, and so the rest of the world leaders have to ‘put up or shut up’ to get anywhere at all with him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Spot on Collette. I admit it freely, I wish he was a smooth talker like Mr Obama – but Trump is a straight talker and does speak from the hip. His supporters are so tired of the typical political double speak that we welcome the change to speaking more plainly. And I think you’re right – foes and allies know they cannot intimidate the POTUS. We voted for change and seriously (!) that’s what we are getting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hah! Yes, I certainly cannot argue that he is a straight talker and shoots from the hip. Is that necessarily a good thing? Hmmmm … in international politics I’m not so sure. I think that diplomacy and tact definitely have a place in social discourse and in politics as well. I find that I cannot listen to him, for he literally makes me want to throw something at my laptop. And sadly, his ways are diminishing our respect among our allies. But … yes, he has effected change. Is it for the better? I guess it’s all in how one defines ‘better’. 🙂

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    • Thanks Colette! While what you say is true, I’m not sure I see it as a positive. I think a little diplomacy and tact goes a long way, and it is what I expect of a world leader, not ranting and vulgarity. If this is the wave of the future, i am glad I’m 66 years old! 😉

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  17. Hmmmm…. tough one indeed!!! I won’t even try to judge the US internal politics – it is not my place to argue what is better for the US or not (I do have some ideas on the bigger topics though). Regarding world politics, or EU politics …. really hard! Not sure what will come out of the Korean initiative, so I won’t name it here (the name calling at the beginning was plain embarrassing though!). At the moment, the only positive thing that comes to my mind regarding EU politics is this: Trump at least forced the EU to realise they cannot always look over the Atlantic for guidance. He gave us a strong incentive to find our spines and grow up. While I do think that growing up and finding a bit of European self-reliance is good, I doubt this is what Ms. Jensen had in mind.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Incorrect – this is exactly what Ms Jensen had in mind. 💋

      And I agree with this assessment, at least the EU part.

      He’s forcing (yes with all that that implies) allies to defend themselves. It’s part of the America First agenda.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Lisa! Well, the problem I have is that we are all part of one bigger world. In this, the 21st century, isolationism, which is basically the tenet of “America First” is not a sound policy. We need each other, just as neighbors in a community need to be ready to pitch in and help one another. I don’t think complete reliance is sound, either, but we are talking about coming to another country’s aid when needed, and I see that as one of the most important parts of globalisation. To be independent is one thing, to be isolated, quite another.

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