Ignoring The Lessons Of The Past …

hot stoveAs children, we learn by doing.  When we place our hand on the open flame of a gas burner, as I did at about age 4, we learn that it is hot, it hurts, and it gets us yelled at, so we don’t do it again.  Well, most of us don’t.  As adults, we have developed the ability to learn by not only our own past experiences, but also those of others, and at least in theory, we can use our ability to reason to determine likely outcomes for our actions.  So, when I read that cigarette smoking is responsible for certain diseases, then I can make the decision to not smoke, right?  Okay, bad example, for I am a 3-pack-a-day smoker, but you get the point.  We don’t need to drive our car over a cliff to know that it is not a good idea.

However, as you’ve often heard me say, it seems that we … the human race in general … fail to learn the lessons of history.  We keep making the same stupid mistakes, over and over.

Yesterday, Donald Trump imposed new tariffs on Chinese imports, to the tune of $200 billion, in addition to the $50 billion previously imposed.

“Today, following seven weeks of public notice, hearings, and extensive opportunities for comment, I directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to proceed with placing additional tariffs on roughly $200 billion of imports from China. The tariffs will take effect on September 24, 2018, and be set at a level of 10 percent until the end of the year. On January 1, the tariffs will rise to 25 percent. Further, if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.

We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices. To counter China’s unfair practices, on June 15, I announced that the United States would impose tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. China, however, still refuses to change its practices – and indeed recently imposed new tariffs in an effort to hurt the United States economy.

As President, it is my duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself. My Administration will not remain idle when those interests are under attack.”

Even on the surface to those of us who are not economists, there are some obvious flaws with his plan. Make no mistake … there is no “if” here … there isn’t much doubt that China will impose retaliatory tariffs. But let’s take a look at another case, one from which we might have learned a lesson.

tiresIn 2009, American tire makers persuaded the Obama administration to impose tariffs on Chinese tires, and imports of tires from China fell sharply. But Chinese companies did not stop making tires in response to the tariffs — they simply moved production to other places, including to the United States.

Chinese tire manufacturer Giti, built a factory in South Carolina to make low-cost tires for Walmart.  Did the move keep some jobs in the U.S.?  Sure, but a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) showed that consumers paid a hefty price: an extra $1.1 billion on tires as a result of a tariff that preserved, at most, 1,200 jobs. That is almost $1 million per job, for jobs paying an average of about $40,000.

The 2009 tire tariffs — and similar efforts by past administrations to tax everything from socks to solar panels — have generally failed to protect existing factories and jobs. The Chinese factory in South Carolina created new jobs for American workers but, in effect, the tariffs only moved jobs from one place to another … at a very high price.

Steel tariffs imposed in 2002 by President George W. Bush yielded similar results, penalizing not just consumers but companies that use steel to make other products, like construction companies and carmakers.  There are about 140,000 jobs in the U.S. steel-making industry, but by contrast, 6.5 million who work in industries that buy steel and will be hit hard by Trump’s steel tariffs.

GMDid you know that General Motors sells more cars in China than in the U.S.?  What do you suppose happens when China imposes tariffs on U.S. autos?  Or when the Chinese government calls for a boycott on U.S. goods?  As an authoritarian government, they do not operate under the same constraints as the U.S.

Trump claims that thus far his tariffs have not had much impact on the U.S. consumer, but if you are a savvy food shopper and pay attention to prices, you will have noticed that certain items have increased, some by quite a bit.  And … on 18 December 2017, the price per gallon for regular fuel was $2.16.  Today it is $2.84, a 31.5% increase.

Simply put, tariffs are taxes ultimately paid by American consumers, in the form of higher prices. In addition to the latest round of tariffs on China, there are the steel tariffs on nearly every nation, plus the retaliatory tariffs imposed on the U.S. by other nations.  Remember back when Trump said that trade wars are ‘easy to win’?  Guess what, folks … there are no winners.  Trump has not only failed to learn the many lessons of history but is seemingly unable or unwilling to apply reasoning and logic in his decision-making process.  And guess who’s going to pay the price, my friends.  Not Trump, not his rich cronies …

Sign Of The Apocalypse?

When I first began reading Hugh’s post, I inadvertently let out a primal scream, and after another paragraph, slammed the lid on my laptop, got up and reheated a small bowl of rice before I could finish reading the post. This may not sound like an endorsement for the post, but believe me, it is. Hugh has brought to light something that is happening today that has far longer reaching and outlasting consequences than any of the many abominations tied to Donald Trump. The subject? The re-writing of history, the replacing of facts with opinions. Please, please take a few minutes to read Hugh’s excellent post and think about what he is saying. Get your bowl of rice before you start, though. Thank you, dear Hugh, for bringing this to our attention, and for your generous permission to share.


One of the more insidious movements in this country is that toward the rewriting of history– eliminating unpleasant facts from the history books. This movement is perhaps a part of the New History movement about which I have blogged in the past — the attempt to reduce history to a form of literature, giving special attention to minor historical figures that have been ignored in the past (probably with good reason!)

In any event, one does wonder why this sort of censorship is not only allowed, but encouraged — even by the Texas State Board of Education which has decided to erase any mention of Hillary Clinton from the history textbooks in order to “streamline” history. As a recent Yahoo news story tells us:

The Texas State Board of Education voted Friday to remove mentions of Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the state’s mandatory history curriculum . . .  The…

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Blockbuster News: President’s Former Campaign Manager Cuts Cooperating Plea Deal With FBI

This is the news we have all been waiting to hear. I hope this is the beginning of the end of the Trumpian Reign of Absurdity. Many thanks, Gronda, for being on top of this and keeping us informed!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of manafort PAUL MANAFORT

I’ve been waiting to post on the news of the republican President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort until more information was available as to whether he was cutting a plea deal with cooperation or with non-co-operation with the FBI.

It is pretty much a consensus that Mr. Manafort is most likely counting on a presidential pardon sometime in the future which is a reasonable expectation as President Trump has hinted that he would be willing to do so.

It is my hope the the FBI’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, head of its Trump-Russia probe would not cut a plea deal without this reality being a consideration.

I suspect that Mr. Mueller would not consider a plea deal without co-operation unless he has determined that he doesn’t need Mr. Manafort’s assistance to build a strong case and without accounting for a possible future pardon.

It is…

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Not A Success … A Damn Disaster!

On Tuesday, Donald Trump made the following statement:

“The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the Governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous. I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success. If you ask the governor, he’ll tell you what a great job.”

Not content with that, on Wednesday morning at 5:51 a.m., he tweeted …

“We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!”

Undoubtedly, some fell for his braggadocio, but for most of us, it was a jaw-dropping moment, knowing as we do that our response in Puerto Rico was anything but ‘great’.  A year later, Puerto Rico still struggles.  Remember Trump’s sole contribution?trump paper towelsPuerto Ricans are still struggling with basic necessities. Fully 83% reported either major damage to their homes, losing power for more than three months, employment setbacks or worsening health problems, among other effects of the storm. The power is spotty, and many are leery of drinking the water. Roads are damaged, dangerous, and difficult to navigate — like “the surface of the moon,” according to one resident — and in some places, the roadways remain impassible.

Eighty percent of Puerto Ricans rate Trump’s response to Maria negatively, an assessment that contradicts the president’s claim two weeks ago that “most of the people in Puerto Rico appreciate what we’ve done.”

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who Trump had suggested the press ask about the great job we had done, responded:governor response

The most recent death toll from Hurricane Maria is 2,975.  Nearly three thousand people died, and Trump calls it an “unsung success”?  No, this was no success, it was a disaster … a damn disaster!

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report assessing how recovery efforts had fared.  Among their findings …

  • Problems with debris removal and a shortage of proper equipment for the task. “Officials said there were resource constraints,” the report reads, “so they had to prioritize debris removal from state-managed roads, before clearing local roads.”
  • Insufficient bilingual employees to communicate with residents and translate documents.
  • Not enough generators were available to meet demand, and not enough recovery material was positioned on the island in advance of the storm. The day before Maria made landfall, four generators had been delivered to the island. Thirty-five were delivered to Texas ahead of Harvey.
  • About 1.6 million meals and 700,000 liters of water were delivered and eight shelters opened to hold 306 people. By contrast, before Irma made landfall in Florida, 4.8 million meals and 9.9 million liters of water were delivered and 249 shelters were opened to hold nearly 50,000 people. That Puerto Rico is harder to access than Florida is both accurate and noted in the report.
  • FEMA faced a staff shortage of 37 percent as of Sept. 1, 2017. Of “reservists” called up to aid the recovery efforts in all the disasters, 46 percent of those deployed last year were not rated as “qualified” for their job functions. At least 15 percent refused a deployment for medical or other reasons.
  • Many reservists on Puerto Rico “were not physically fit to handle conditions on the island,” according to one official, who suggested that “a fitness test should have been required before they were eligible to deploy.”
  • Volunteers similarly indicated that their skill sets weren’t matched to assigned tasks and that training was insufficient.

And that death toll.  Nearly 3,000 people – human beings, U.S. citizens.  😢  No, Donald Trump, we were not in the least bit successful, despite your throwing paper towels at people who had just lost everything.


Trump Picks More Losers …

The rollback of regulations that were meant to protect the environment and the withdrawal from the Paris Accord were bad enough.  The nomination of climate change deniers Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke to top positions in agencies whose primary functions pertained to protecting the environment added insult to injury.  And now, to ice the cake, Trump has appointed William Happer for the key job of “senior director for emerging technologies” at the National Security Council.Will-Happer-climate-science-denierWant to know what’s wrong with William Happer?  Happer is a “theoretical physicist”, whatever the heck that is, at Princeton, and is one of the most demented climate change deniers in existence.  Here are just a few of the things he has to say about climate science …

  • In Defense of Carbon Dioxide: “The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.”

  • “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda.”

  • “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”  Say WHAT???

  • “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

So, just what qualifies him for this position?  Well, for many years, he was chairman of the board of the George C. Marshall Institute, which was funded in part by the Koch brothers to promote climate science denial.  He also writes and co-signs anti-science Wall Street Journal op-eds.

Will-HapperThe reality is that Happer knows little about emerging technologies or real threats to America’s national security but he does know a great deal about denying climate science. And, sadly, that appears to be the only qualification you need to join the Trump team these days.

Another Trump nominee, J. Steven Gardner, had been nominated to lead the Interior Department’s mining agency, but withdrew his nomination earlier this week.  Gardner was a long-time coal advocate who applauded the decision last year to allow coal companies to dump their toxic waste into streams.

According to Tom Morris of the Sierra Club …

“Gardner has shown time and again that he will try and fight anything that gets in the way of profits for coal executives — even if it means sacrificing the health of the families and communities …”Steven GardnerLike Zinke, Pruitt, Happer and all the rest in the current administration, he is a denier of climate science.  Some of his beliefs:

  • Mining is simply “accelerated erosion”
  • Mountaintop mining is good because it creates flat land
  • There is no such thing as renewable energy

Fortunately, Gardner has withdrawn his nomination in light of the stalled confirmation process, and certain requirements by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) with which he was unwilling to comply.  Good riddance, but who will be next?  No doubt another person who doesn’t believe in science, but rather puts corporate profits above preserving our lives.Patrick Chappatte / International New York Times


Modern Day Slavery.

Early this morning, I wrote a short piece sharing my angst over the fact that I have been so wrapped up in writing about U.S. politics that I had missed a couple of very serious issues that deserved attention. At that moment, tired and sad, I saw this as an egregious failure on my part. Our friend David, however, one of the greatest humanitarians I know, picked up that ball and ran with it, writing of one of the issues I had let fall through the cracks: the slave trade on the African continent. Please take a few moments to read David’s enlightening and informative post, for the first step in solving this humanitarian crisis is awareness, and far too many of us are unaware what goes on outside our own corner of the world. Thank you, David, for bringing our attention to this massive atrocity.


Eritrea is a small African country in the North East or Horn of Africa. It’s Capital is Asmara. After the Second World War Eritrea was taken away from the Italians and administered by the British until 1952. At that time the UN General Assembly voted to make Eritrea self governing but tied to Ethiopia it’s larger neighbour for a period of ten years. In 1962 the Government of Ethiopia annulled the agreement and tried to annexe Eritrea bringing about armed resistance from the Eritreans and they proved to be difficult to defeat. In 1991 after almost 30 years continual warfare Eritrea got it’s wish. Or did it? It became a one party state under the EPLF which later became the People’s Front for Democracy. In itself, if this didn’t make me laugh I’d have to cry. National  legislative elections have been postponed time and again.

The Government of Eritrea has…

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I’m Sorry …

The human heart has limits, folks.  We have limits to what we can absorb, how much we can feel before we finally just … burst.

Tonight, after many frustrating, sad, maddening news stories, after writing my post for this a.m., and just as I was about to head to bed, I got a notification that I had a Facebook message from one of my favourite people in this world, Rob Roland.  Rob used to live next door to us, and I always knew that as long as he was here in da hood, there was nothing and nobody that was going to hurt me or mine.  Though Rob stands about 6’8”, he always called me Grannie, always had a hug for me, and insisted that his three adorable little girls say “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am” when I asked them a question.  Rob’s wife Aundrea is a sweetheart and I love her dearly.  So tonight, even though it was after 3:00 a.m., and I was tired beyond even my norm, I needed to see what Rob had posted to me on Facebook.  And here is what I found …

“Granny why are people not talking about the slave trade in Libya? It seems like The Who world should be outraged that human beings are still being sold anywhere. I saw a video of one slave being beaten all over his body with a 2 by 4 while he was tied up Granny, then they stated stabbing the man on camera, it brought tears to my eyes Granny, why isn’t the world, the UN doing anything or even talking about this? Is outrageous.”

Rob, in case I didn’t mention it, is African-American.  Doesn’t matter, but it might explain why he sees things that I didn’t.  My friend Rebecca, who is Latino, then responded to Rob with this …

“Have you seen the Mexican man being beaten all over by a policeman in California? Yea, it happen today. I thought all that bigoted stuff happened in the east states… I guess we in the west we are also going to judged by the color of our skin. Trump and his hate policies are destroying our country. That’s why we care whats happening in America daily…period.”

Perhaps it is only because it is late, I am unusually exhausted, and have been dealing with some personal issues the last few days, but these two comments have brought me to tears and made me feel as if my heart is about to explode with sorrow.  I have failed both of these wonderful friends, for I have not reported on the slave trade in Libya, though I am and have been aware of it.  And I was not even aware of the Mexican man beaten by a policeman in California.

Donald Trump and his shenanigans occupy all my time, and despite my promise many years ago to write about social injustices around the world, I have failed.

Rob & Rebecca … I have let you both down.  I am sorry.

Blood On Our Hands …

Jim CarreyDonald Trump has blood on his hands – the blood of at least 40 children who were killed by a bomb while riding their school bus in Yemen on August 9th.  40 children.  School bus.  Bomb.  We The People have blood on our hands for allowing this to happen, for electing a president who cares more about a feud with his predecessor than the lives of 40 children.

In March 2016, Saudi airstrikes killed 97 people in a market in Yemen using bombs supplied by the U.S.  In October 2016, Saudi strikes killed 155 people in a funeral home in Yemen … again, using bombs supplied by the U.S.  At that time, President Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia over “human rights concerns.”  On 11 September 2001, 19 hijackers guided 4 airplanes in an attack on the U.S.  15 of those hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia.

Donald Trump, in his hatred of all things related to or done by President Obama, overturned the ban just two months after taking the oath of office.  And yesterday, the Saudis struck again, this time the U.S. made bomb hitting a school bus and murdering at least 40 children.  Donald Trump rode to an electoral victory in part based on his hatred and prejudice against President Obama.  He rallied the masses by promising to undo everything that President Obama did.  And now, because of that particular bit of inanity, he has murdered children just as surely as if he personally put a knife into their backs or a gun in their faces. dead Yemeni childNot only did we supply them the tools, but helped them with their strategic planning, according to Secretary of Defense James Mattis:  “I will tell you that we do help them plan what we call, kind of targeting. We do not do dynamic targeting for them.” 

In addition to the 40 children, 11 adults were also murdered, as the bus exploded, sending chunks of burning metal into shops along the street.  And 79 were wounded, 56 of whom were children.Yemeni children injured.jpgAccording to a June article in The Guardian

Donald Trump is quietly escalating America’s role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, disregarding the huge humanitarian toll and voices in Congress that are trying to rein in the Pentagon’s involvement. Trump administration officials are considering a request from Saudi Arabia and its ally, the United Arab Emirates, for direct US military help to retake Yemen’s main port.

With little public attention or debate, the president has already expanded US military assistance to his Saudi and UAE allies – in ways that are prolonging the Yemen war and increasing civilian suffering. Soon after Trump took office in early 2017, his administration reversed a decision by former president Barack Obama to suspend the sale of over $500m in laser-guided bombs and other munitions to the Saudi military, over concerns about civilian deaths in Yemen. The US Senate narrowly approved that sale, in a vote of 53 to 47, almost handing Trump an embarrassing defeat.

The war has killed at least 10,000 Yemenis and left more than 22 million people –three-quarters of Yemen’s population – in need of humanitarian aid. At least 8 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine, and 1 million are infected with cholera.

The United States is not at war with Yemen, and the only reason the U.S. and Saudis remain allies is one word:  oil.  We share no ideological commonalities and the only reason for selling arms to them is $$$$$.  We assisted in the murder of those 40 children and countless other civilians for $110 billion … the value of the defense contract Trump signed in May 2017.Trump-SaudiTrump has shown a propensity for embracing authoritarian leaders. In May, on his first trip after taking office, he chose Saudi Arabia as the first stop on his itinerary. Saudi leaders gave Trump a grandiose welcome: they filled the streets of Riyadh with billboards of Trump and the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud; organized extravagant receptions and sword dances; and awarded Trump the kingdom’s highest honor, a gold medallion named after the founding monarch.  It was during this visit that Trump announced the aforementioned weapons sale, claiming that it would boost the U.S. economy, even though much of the hardware had already been built prior to Obama’s ban. Since then, Trump has offered virtually unqualified support for Saudi leaders, especially the young and ambitious crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the architect of the disastrous war in Yemen.

The intentional killing of civilians is a violation of international humanitarian law and as such, the U.S. could be implicated in war crimes and U.S. personnel could, in theory, be exposed to international prosecution.  Not that it is likely, nor am I as concerned at the moment as I am for the lives of the children being slaughtered by the Saudis with the help and consent of our own government. Most experts agree that the U.S. is making the situation worse, rather than helping.child reading grassI looked outside my windows today and I saw the sky was blue … not even a cloud, let alone smoke from bombs.  The grass was green, and children were playing happily, secure and not concerned for their lives.  When a plane flies over our neighborhood, children do not often even look up, let alone run for cover.  Can you imagine what the children in Yemen do when a plane flies overhead?Yemeni children

Thoughts on “Making America Great … Again?”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came under fire this week for comments he made on Wednesday at a bill-signing ceremony.

“We’re not going to make America great again — it was never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women — 51 percent of our population — is gone and every woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed.”

For the record, and at the risk of drawing my own fire, I agree with him.  There are things about this country that are truly wonderful, but there are a lot of things that are broken and need to be fixed, as well.  To his comments, I would add that we will reach greatness when there is no discrimination and when we accept that it is the responsibility of every adult to care for those less fortunate, and when we acknowledge that people matter more than ‘things’.

Reading his words, the criticisms and his rather odd retraction set my mind on a ponderous path, wondering … what, exactly, is “great”?  I strongly suspect that each of us have our own ideas of what makes a nation ‘great’, and that many of our definitions would be at odds with one another’s.  We don’t have to wonder what Trump means when he claims he is ‘making America great again’, for he lets us know in no uncertain terms.  Trump’s idea of greatness and mine diverge more than slightly, however.  But what would really be interesting is to understand how other average people would define greatness, and whether we have any common ground, republican vs democrat, liberal vs conservative, in our ideas about ‘greatness’.

Do we even know what we think would make the nation ‘great’?  We use the term often enough, but have we really sat down and taken the time to think about why our nation is or isn’t great, and what must change to make it so?

And so, dear friends, you have the dubious honour today of being privy to the ponderings and meanderings of my scrambled mind.

What is ‘great’?

I went my usual route, seeking the ‘official’ definition, but Merriam-Webster was no help:

  • notably large in size; of a kind characterized by relative largeness
  • large in number or measure; predominant
  • remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness
  • full of emotion
  • eminent, distinguished; chief or preeminent over others; aristocratic, grand
  • long continued
  • principal, main
  • more remote in a family relationship by a single generation than a specified relative
  • markedly superior in character or quality
  • remarkably skilled, marked by enthusiasm
  • a generalized term of approval

Hmmmm … likely the only one that even vaguely fits what Trump is referring to when he says he is making the country great is “markedly superior in character or quality”.  But I have a problem with that, for that word ‘superior’ doesn’t define at all what I think of as great, unless I’m talking about an ice cream sundae.  Otherwise, superiority equates with arrogance, a trait I dislike immensely. Dictionary.com likewise had multiple, unhelpful definitions … 23 of them, to be precise!

Okay, I’m going to tell you what I think it would take to truly make this a great nation, thus creating my own definition of great as it applies to a nation.  The following are in no particular order of importance, but are simply in the order they popped into my head.

  • Equality for all, meaning that nobody would denigrate another based on race, skin colour, religion, ethnicity, gender or gender identification, or social status. This means that police don’t shoot unarmed black men, religious organizations don’t discriminate against LGBT people, and we all treat each other as simply being humans.

  • Eradication of poverty and relative income equality. It is true that somebody who works very hard should be rewarded financially.  But the extreme income inequality in this country today is, frankly, ridiculous and the wealth of the upper 1% (or less) is further enhanced by tax cuts, tax loopholes, and other governmental assists.  The wealthy in this nation do not carry their own weight, do not bear a fair share of the tax burden, and until that happens, this nation cannot be said to be ‘great’.

  • Universal health care to ensure that all people are able to be taken care of properly when they are ill.

  • Affordable college tuition so that we can have a better-educated populace, better able to participate in government and make wise decisions on a personal, professional and civic level.

  • Renewable energy taking the place of fossil fuels as quickly as possible in order to protect and repair the quality of the environment that is suffering from decades of deterioration. This would include a return to the Paris Accord.

  • Preservation of natural resources, lands, and wildlife. There should be absolutely no commercialization of national parks and other lands set aside for wildlife conservation.  The earth is one ecosystem comprised of many smaller ecosystems … everything is designed to fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and when you destroy one piece, the rest is affected as well.

  • Campaign finance regulations that prohibit donations by any corporation, lobby or individual. Campaigns financed by state and federal taxes, with each candidate receiving precisely the same amount is the only way to ensure fairness and hopefully encourage honesty in our elected representatives.

  • Improved relations with allies and NATO, for this is indeed a global world, and those who eschew ‘globalization’ as being something evil are choosing to wear blinders and live in the past. We produce soybeans, other nations produce oil … punitive actions such as tariffs are counter-productive to a mutually advantageous trade relationship.  Additionally, it is in the best interest of all nations to get along, for we may need their help someday, or vice versa.  The days when a nation could stand alone, be an isolated entity, are long since gone.

  • Strict gun laws are essential to a peaceful society. Weapons that were designed for military use only must be banned from the civilian population and returned to the military where they belong.  For other guns, there should be competency testing, intense background checks, and periodic re-licensing requirements.  Limits of one gun per household, and a repeal of conceal-carry laws should also apply.

Okay, so it’s just a wish list, and a pie-in-the-sky one at that, but until we are at least working toward the things on this list, I don’t see that our nation is at all great.  Certainly it is better than some, but not at the top of the list by any stretch. Instead of working toward the things that would make it better, we have a leader and a Congress who are actively working against these ideals.

Racism is not only being tolerated, but encouraged by our elected representatives!  Religious groups are being given the license to discriminate against others.  The ‘right’ to shoot and kill others is state-supported (Florida – Stand Your Ground laws).  Tax cuts and breaks are given to the wealthy, not those of us who most need a few extra dollars.  Trade tariffs are causing rising prices on food and other goods, particularly automobiles and home appliances.  College costs are making higher education impossible for the average young person.  Fossil fuels are being encouraged and given advantages, while renewable sources are being shunned by the government.  The gun lobby (NRA) has more power than almost any other entity. Environmental regulations are being scrapped in the interest of big corporations.  We abuse our allies and wine-and-dine our antagonists.  And the list goes on and on.  No, folks, Donald Trump is definitely NOT making America great, at least not by my definition.

So, how would you define ‘greatness’ in terms of a nation?