#215 Trade Agreements Cost Jobs! But Why? (Part 2)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Office, on phone with nephew of long-time friend.  Nephew is taking advanced economics course and been assigned paper oh whether or not trade agreements cost US workers jobs.  Conversation begins Entry #214.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly: (answering in-bound call) “Mr. Abel’s office.  May I help you?”

Caller:  “My name is Billy Belleville.  I believe Mr. Abel talked to my aunt.  I also left a voice mail yesterday that I would call back.”

Gelly:  “Yes, Mr. Belleville, we’ve been expecting your call.  And, FYI, please call Mr. Abel, ‘Jordan.’  I know you’ve had good upbringing, but this is a business call.  I’ll patch you through.”

student clip_art_free_-_school_clip_art_free_20121124_1951589029Billy:  “Thanks.”

Gelly:  “Jordan, Billy Belleville is on line #2.”

Jordan:  “Billy, thanks for calling again.  My apologies for having to leave a voice mail yesterday.  Gelly and I were both out of the office.  How may I help you?”

Billy:  “Did my aunt tell you about my assignment?”

Jordan:  “I have some idea but why don’t you assume I know nothing and start over.”

professor4Billy:  “I’m taking an advanced economics class this semester.  A major portion of the grade is a paper to determine if trade agreements help, hurt or have minimal impact on US employment.”

Jordan:  “Any other instructions?”

Billy:  “Not about the problem.”

Jordan:  “Interesting topic.  I like that your professor kept the instructions vague.  Welcome to the real world.”

Billy:  “I was hoping you could give me some guidance.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Glad to try.  My first question is, ‘What do you think the impact of trade agreements is on US employment – positive, negative or neutral?’”

Billy:  “I really don’t know.  There seems to be a significant difference of opinion in Washington.”

Jordan:  “What have you heard?”

Billy:  “I remember the 2016 presidential election.  Donald Trump kept saying that trade agreements were bad for US workers.  He also said if elected, he donald-trumpwould tear up the agreements and renegotiate them in favor of the US.”

Jordan:  “So based on Trump logic, you’d conclude that trade agreements are bad, right?”

Billy:  “Yes, but that makes no sense.  I mean, why would the US enter into all these agreements if the agreements are always bad?”

Jordan:  “Welcome to Washington hyperbole.  Just for fun let’s discount the figure-thinking-hiDonald’s logic and assume for a minute that maybe not all trade agreements are bad.  What do you think trade agreements are supposed to do?”

Billy:  “Trade agreements should make it easier for two countries, or even a block or countries, to trade with one another.”

Jordan:  “Good fundamental answer.  I would add that ideally the countries involved in the trade agreement have different skill sets or capabilities.”

Billy:  “So, if we take the US, since we’re a very efficient producer of many agricultural products – corn, soybeans and wheat, for example – the US should seek out countries that might need these products but have some products the US doesn’t produce or where the US cost is too high.  Is that right?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Now let’s take a trade agreement that is in place and see what naftaeach country could or should bring to the table.  Let’s take NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement that includes Canada, the United States and Mexico.  Let’s start with Canada – what does it bring to the table?”

Billy:  “Agriculture, especially wheat, fish products, manufacturing and lots of minerals and timber products.”

Jordan:  “What about the US?”

Billy:  “Agriculture – as I said corn, wheat, soybeans…and I think even rice.  Huge manufacturing base, although a lot fewer people today that say 40-50 years ago.  Lots of oil and gas.  Many minerals – although not as much as Canada, and software, if that counts.”

Jordan:  “Software counts.  What about Mexico?”

Billy:  “Maybe not fair, but I think Mexico as very limited manufacturing, except Mexican Flagon the Rio Grande border, not much agriculture for export.  I guess mostly tourist locations.  Lots of lower-cost labor.”

Jordan:  “What you described for Mexico is a huge untapped market for goods produced in the US and Canada.”

Billy:  “But don’t the Mexican people need more income to buy the goods.  Don’t they need higher-paying jobs?  They just can’t go buy on credit if they don’t have money to pay it back.”

Jordan:  “Where are those jobs going to come from?”

Billy:  “According to what Trump kept saying, the jobs were coming from US workers.  If not US workers – or Canadian workers — where do they come from?”

Jordan:  “The better question is, ‘How can trade agreements create jobs in both countries and…notice I said both countries.  Or for NAFTA, create jobs in all three countries’?”

Billy:  “I understand your question.  For jobs to be created in one country doesn’t that mean jobs are lost in the other country, or countries.  Is that right?”

Jordan:  “Trade between countries is not a zero-sum game.  Trade agreements should create job opportunities.”

RantBilly:  “Then why did Trump and some other politicians keep ranting that trade agreements are bad for the US?”

Jordan:  “I want to add one more issue to think about…and then we’re going to take a short break.  Why are politicians who oppose trade agreements with other countries not opposed to one state in the US recruiting companies from another state?  Such recruiting, especially by southern states, includes huge taxpayer-funded incentives.  Why should North Carolina use taxpayer money to recruit companies located in say Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, New York City?  Allowing states to use taxpayer funds to recruit companies in other states is worse that zero-sum, it’s negative.  Think about that issue over the break.”


#214 Trade Agreements Cost Jobs! But Why? (Part 1)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington, DC Office

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Jordan, Ms is on the phone and would like to talk to you.”

Jordan:  “Really?  What’s she want to talk what?”

Gelly:  “Some question about trade agreements and the impact on American jobs.”

Jordan:  “OK, thanks.”  (Jordan picks up phone.)  “Mr. Abel here.  How may I help you?”

Womens symbolMs:  “Cut the formality, Jordan.  How are you?  Been a while since we chatted.” 

Jordan:  “Agreed it has been too long.  I’m doing OK.  More importantly, how you doing?  You survive the floods in Louisiana?”

Ms:  “Floods were south of here.  I’ve got a lot of friends in that area.  Most of them have lived down there for a long time and never experienced a flood.  But not this time.  Really bad damage.  Awful.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Sorry to hear about your friends.  But are you OK?”

Ms:  “Just had another check-up and everything looks fine…thankfully.”

Jordan:  “Great.  Now, really why the call?”

Ms:  “My nephew is in college and taking some advanced economics course.  On the first day the professor assigned everyone a paper to analyze and decide whether US trade agreements are good, bad or neutral for US employment.”

DrakeJordan:  “And he thought you might have a contact that could help him?”

Ms:  “He knew for sure that I couldn’t help him.  What does a motorcycle riding aunt know about trade agreements and employment?”

Jordan:  “You never know.”

Ms:  “So what do I tell him?  Can you help?”

Jordan:  “I’ll try.  What’s his name?”

Ms:  “Beaufort Belleville.”

student clip_art_free_-_school_clip_art_free_20121124_1951589029Jordan:  “You kidding me?  Beaufort Belleville.  What kind of name is that?”

Ms:  “You know some old-line southern families use surnames of close relatives for first names of children.  Anyway, he goes by Billy, so please don’t call him Beaufort.”

Jordan:  “Glad to talk to Billy.  Have him call me Wednesday or Thursday this week, if possible.  I’ll give Gelly a heads up about the call.”

Ms:  “Thanks Jordan.  He’ll appreciate it…and I will to.”

Jordan:  “Let’s have dinner next time you’re at the farm up here or when I’m down your way, OK?”

Ms:   “OK, but remember it’s your turn to buy.”

Jordan:  “Alright, I’ll buy.  Take care.”   

#213 Republican Leaders Have No Balls…and Two Strikes

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington, DC

Gelly:  “Jordan, I was cleaning out a filing cabinet and I found this op-ed piece 092615_2031_Characters7.gifyou wrote in 2016.  This get published?”

Jordan:  “Yes, but the article never generated as much response as I was hoping for.”

Gelly:  “Why not?”

Jordan:  “The publication date was in August 2016.  At the time Trump was making so many outlandish statements so often than the press Trumphad a hard time keeping up.  There was little time to reflect on the content of the article – what Republican leaders should be doing to counter the Donald.”

Gelly:  “So the real meat of this article was lost in all the noise, right?”

Jordan:  “A lot of people were thinking the same thing that I wrote, especially some high-profile people in the Republican Party…and certainly some big donors.  But not much was really said by leadership of the Republicans Party.”

Gelly:  “Some Republicans seemed to take a stand against Trump – like the 50 or so national security people.  And like the senator from Maine…”

TurtleneckJordan:  “…you mean Susan Collins?”

Gelly:  “…that’s the one.  The security group and the senator seemed to distance themselves from Trump.”

Jordan:  “I think the security group did a good job in making their position clear.  Others were less harsh and frankly less effective in their statements.”

Gelly:  “Is that why you chose the title for the article?”

CongressJordan:  “Yep.  Think about it.  The Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House…combined they may have more influence than POTUS on what happens to the American people day to day…and neither of them would openly denounce Trump.  What kind of leadership is that?”

Gelly:  “Weren’t they just trying to protect their political careers?”

Jordan:  “Gelly, you just nailed one of the key reasons why I think Republican leaders had no balls…and two strikes…in the 2016 presidential election.”

Gelly:  “OK, what’d I nail?”

parrothead_tnsJordan:  “The term ‘political careers.’  Voters, most voters anyway, elect officials, Republicans and Democrats, to do what’s right for the country and right for the constituents.”

Gelly:  “And not worry about their political career?  But…”

Jordan:  “Your term ‘but’ is right on.  Too many politicians, especially Republicans in 2016, were looking out for their own butt.”

Gelly:  “Were you saying that in 2016 Republican leaders covered their butt and had no balls?  That’s not a very nice thing to say, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Whether nice or not doesn’t matter.  If you’re to be an effective leader, then you have to provide an ethical path for others to follow.  You can’t just hide and hope the problem goes away.”

Dog under BedGelly:  “Hiding reminds me of our dog when I was a kid.  During a thunderstorm she would crawl underneath the bed, hiding from the storm.”

Jordan:  “You dog story is a good one.  When I wrote the article, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan had, in effect, crawled underneath the bed and were hiding from the Trump thunderstorm.”

Gelly:  “You think if McConnell and Ryan had taken a more of a leadership role re Trump, the outcome of the election would have changed?”

Humpty DumptyJordan:  “The outcome would have been the same.  But the Republican Party would not have been so torn apart.  After the election, the Republican Party looked more like Humpty Dumpty after the great fall.  And the Party still hasn’t recovered fully.”

Gelly:  “When you wrote the article do you think there was still time for McConnell and Ryan to demonstrate leadership instead of acting like a scared dog?”

Baseball BatterJordan:  “There was time.  Remember it was mid-August 2016.  There were 2½ months until the election.  The amount of time left to the election is why I added ‘…two strikes’ to the title of the article.”

Gelly:  “So like baseball, even with two strikes, the batter can get a home run and win the game.  Right?”

Jordan:  “Right you are.  Now, let’s go get a coffee.”

#212 The Blame Game: Beginning the Reversal? Rock Man Teams with O’Reilly (Part 4)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Bill O’Reilly Show Fox Network  (Conversation for this section begins Entry #209)       

O’Reilly:  “We have a special program this evening.  The OReilly Show Logoconversation is about how to begin addressing and ideally how to start solving some ongoing issues facing the black community.  My guest is someone with an incredibly interesting background…and even better he’s not a politician or a nationally known figure – at least not yet.  (O’Reilly then describes Rock Man’s background and accomplishments).  Welcome to the show Rock Man.  Thanks for coming on.”

Rock Man:  “You’re welcome, Bill.  And thanks for the nice introduction.”

O’Reilly:  “Don’t thank me.  I just summarized what you’ve accomplished…and it’s very impressive.”

092615_2031_Characters5.pngRock Man:  “Appreciate it.”

O’Reilly:  “Before we go any farther, I want to emphasize I had to twist Rock Man’s arm a bit to come on the show.”

Rock Man (laughing):  “Twist only a bit?  You almost broke my arm.”

O’Reilly:  “OK.  I met Rock Man through a mutual acquaintance.  Rock Man is here representing no one but himself – no organization, no political group and no agenda other than wanting to help the black community.  You want to add anything to that Rock Man?”

Rock Man:  “Just that I found your piece about issues facing the black community very thought provoking…and disturbing.”

O’Reilly:  “Why disturbing?”

Rock Man:  “What was disturbing is not what you said.  I can get past some of your editorializing – I know that comes with the territory.  But what caused me pause was the observation that the black community, the politicians, even the general public seem to avoid talking about many of the points you raised.  I hear lots of blaming but no real discussion about the cause.”

Bill-O’ReillyO’Reilly:  “For those who haven’t seen the piece, which I first published in 2016, the main issue was a question about how the following behaviors affected the economic and social well-being of the black community.  General categories were: (i) high percentage of births outside marriage; (ii) seeming lack of emphasis on education; (iii) use of illicit drugs; (iv) the effect of the media glamorizing certain negative behavior.”

Rock Man:  “I agree these items are linked and contribute to the problem.  And, yes, I also agree that no one outside the black community is forcing this kind of behavior.  The black community cannot blame whites, Hispanics, politicians, the media or even slavery for their behavior.”

O’Reilly:  “Folks, Rock Man’s comments are why I thought this conversation would be productive.  So what can we do to start turning this ship around?”

blameRock Man:  “The first step is the black community needs to look in the mirror and quit pointing fingers and blaming others.  Blaming others might make one feel better but it does not lead to any improvement.”

O’Reilly:  “Then what?”

Rock Man:  “This might upset a lot of black politicians and so-called leaders but I think we…”

O’Reilly:  “…we meaning the black community?”

Rock Man:  “Yes.  The black community needs to ask other ethnic groups how they succeeded.”

O’Reilly:  “Ask any group in particular?”

Rock Man:  “If one looks back in US history, virtually all ethnic groups suffered significant discrimination for some period.”

No Irish Need ApplyO’Reilly:  “My grandfather had a sign in his office that read ‘Help Wanted.  No Irish Need Apply.”

Rock Man:  “I’ve never seen that sign but its great example.  So maybe the black community sits down with some Irish – like the O’Reilly clan – and tries to understand how the Irish transitioned from blatant discrimination to having a president elected and having someone become a kingpin at the Fox Network.”

O’Reilly (smiling):  “Not sure about a kingpin part.  But thanks.  Now, what about other ethnic groups?”

Rock Man:  “We could learn a lot from many groups – Jews, many Asian cultures, every major group that has immigrated.”

O’Reilly:  “You bring up an interesting point.  Many blacks obviously look markedly different from whites.  There’s no confusion about your heritage.  Many Asians are also easily identified.  Looking different from most everyone else is a cause of some discrimination, like it or not.”

Rock Man:  “I agree looking different is likely always going to cause some discomfort – for both sides.  But if appearance were an overriding issue, you and I wouldn’t be talking.”

O’Reilly:  “So you think there are issues more fundamental than appearance, right?”

Plan Goal StrategyRock Man:  “Your list from 2016 is a great start.  We should ask other ethnic groups what plans, goals and strategies they developed to hold families together, encourage education…really their ideas to make life better for future generations.”

O’Reilly:  “You going to lead that effort, Rock Man?”

Rock Man:  “How can I lead that effort?  You said earlier that I’m no high-profile entertainer, no major sports figure, and certainly no politician.”

O’Reilly:  “I’ll tell you how.  Remember the 2016 Democratic Convention?  One of the Kahn at DNCmost memorable moments was the speech by Khizr Kahn talking about loss of his son, an officer in the US military, and then Mr. Kahn’s offer to lend Donald Trump a copy of his constitution.”

Rock Man:  “That was a great moment.”

O’Reilly:  “Mr. Kahn started an important dialogue that changed many people’s mind about the ‘credibility’ of the Donald.  You might become the new Mr. Kahn for changing discourse in the black community.”

Rock Man:  “Thanks but where am I going to get that kind of audience?”

O’Reilly:  “You can start right here.  I realize there aren’t many black viewers for this show.  Maybe we can change that…at least when you’re on.”

Rock Man:  “Are you inviting me back?”

O’Reilly:  “Rock Man, this country has a problem – an underperforming black community.  And all of us need to help with a turnaround.”

Rock Man:  “Help, yes, but the black community needs to take the lead.  You serious about using this show?”

agreement-clipart-business_handshakeO’Reilly:  “Yes, dead serious.  While you and I are opposite politically, we both want to help the black community improve.  As part of that effort you can a regular on this show.  Have we got a deal?”

Rock Man:  “Bill, you’re a persuasive guy.  We’ve got a deal.”

#211 The Blame Game – Starting to Bridge the Gap (Part 3)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Rock Man calling Bill O’Reilly’s office.  (Part 1 of conversation begins Entry 209)

O’Reilly’s Assistant:  Mr. O’Reilly’s office.  May I help you?”

telephone-operator_141743005Rock Man:  “My name is Rock Man.  I was referred to Mr. O’Reilly by…”

O’Reilly’s Assistant:  “…Oh, yes, Rock Man, we’ve been expecting your call.”

Rock Man:  “Really?  How’d you know I was going to call?”

O’Reilly’s Assistant:  “Gelly…in Jordan Abel’s office…called me and gave me a heads up.  She and I have been friends for years.  We went to high school together.”

Rock Man:  “She never mentioned that…or maybe I was so shocked about the idea of 010114_1941_20RockMans1.pngcalling Mr. O’Reilly I didn’t hear her.  Is Mr. O’Reilly available to talk?”

O’Reilly’s Assistant:  “Yes.  FYI, he prefers you call him Bill.  He’s also been briefed on why you’re calling.  I’ll put him through.”

O’Reilly:  “Bill O’Reilly here.  Is this Rock Man?”

Rock Man:  “Yes.  Nice to meet you.  If you have a few minutes I’d like to discuss your talking points about starting a conversation with the black community.”

O’Reilly:  “I’d love to talk.  I assume you’re talking about the list I published a few Oreilly Head Shotyears ago?”

Rock Man:  “Yes, from 2016 I think.”

O’Reilly:  “Even after the Revenge Revolution, there seems to be a huge gap between say what seems important to the Black Lives Matter movement and what many in the white community think is important.  However, before we start discussing the list of question, could you run through your background, please?  I’ve heard some but I’d like to hear more from you.”

Rock Man:  “Grew up in eastern North Carolina, one of 8 children.  Parents were tenant cotton farmers.  Parents had very limited education – maybe through 8th grade but I don’t really know.”

DrakeO’Reilly:  “Did I understand correctly that all the children graduated from college – I mean all 8 of you graduated?”

Rock Man:  “Yes.  Several earned graduate degrees.”

O’Reilly:  “Amazing…and very impressive.  My apologies for asking, but you are black, right?”

Rock Man:  “Yes, and no apologies necessary.”

O’Reilly:  “And you went to college where?”

Rock Man:  “Started out at Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte…”

O’Reilly:  “…Smith is a historically black college?”

UNC_Charlotte_logoRock Man:  “…yes.  My junior year I transferred to University of North Carolina-Charlotte because the curriculum was more rigorous.”

O’Reilly:  “Then what?”

Rock Man:  “After graduating I opened a rock climbing gym in Charlotte.  At the time I think I was the only black guy in the country that owned a climbing gym.”

O’Reilly:  “Ah, that answers my question of why the name Rock Man.  Married?”

Rock Man:  “Yes, wife’s an executive with a large international company.”

O’Reilly:  “Kids?”

Yale_Bulldogs2Rock Man:  “Two – daughter and son.  Both accelerated programs.  Our daughter has her heart set on Yale or Harvard.”

O’Reilly:  “Wow, what a background.  You and your wife are true role models.”

Rock Man:  “You sound like Jordan Abel.  You know Jordan?”

O’Reilly:  “We’ve met a couple of times and had a few drinks together.  So now you have at least two people in Washington citing you as a role model.  I really am impressed.”

Rock Man:  “Thanks.  Now, what about your background?

O’Reilly:  “Nothing as impressive as yours.  I’m just a commentator.”

Rock Man:  “Speaking of commentators, do you know why the aristocratic father potato-clip-art-clippotato3potato would not let the aristocratic daughter potato marry Bill O’Reilly?”

O’Reilly:  “I give.  Why?”

Rock Man:  “Because he was just a common tator.”

O’Reilly:  “You got me there Rock Man.  That was bad.”

Rock Man:  “OK, whadda say we get started on your list of questions for the black community?”

O’Reilly:  “We’ll get to the list but I’ve got an idea on how we approach it.  Based on what I know about you and our conversation so far, I think our discussion about the list will be productive and interesting to a lot of people.  We also have an opportunity to demonstrate how two people with likely polar opposite views on a number of issues can have a civilized and meaningful conversation.  I think you need to come on the show.”

Rock Man:  “Huh?  Me on your TV show?”

O’Reilly:  “Why not?”

Rock Man:  “What about a rehearsal?  We could sort of practice now.”

O’Reilly:  “The show will be more effective with just the two of us talking…and no tv-camera-clipart-1.jpgrehearsal.  We’ll tape it so if there’s a major problem we can do some edits.  However, I think the more spontaneity, the more credibility the conversation will have.  How ‘bout it?”

Rock Man:  “OK, but how soon?”

O’Reilly:  “Ideally within the next week.  I need to review my calendar and see what times are available.  You have any restrictions on time?”

Rock Man:  “During the day is better.”

O’Reilly:  “Alright.  We’ll get back.  And thanks Rock Man.  Looking forward to meeting in person.”

Rock Man:  “Same here.”


#210 The Blame Game (Part 2)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  (Conversation begins #209)

Gelly:  “OK, I watched O’Reilly’s video.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifJordan:  “…and?”

Gelly:  “No surprise that I didn’t agree with everything he said but his points were well taken.  We’ve got to start a conversation with the black community in order to start solving problems.”

Jordan:  “What do we do next?”

Gelly:  “I was going to ask you the same question.  Big set of problems.  Who’s going to take the lead?”

Jordan:  “Let’s make a list of people who might be good candidates.  Who comes to mind first?”

Gelly:  “For me, president Obama.  He’s been out of office a few years and stayed away from politics.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Great choice, but I think he still might be considered too controversial.  You know who would be a good person to bounce ideas off of…and maybe lead the discussion before it gets too high-profile?”

Gelly:  “Someone who really understands the black community…like Rock Man?”

Jordan:  “Like Rock Man.  Been a while since we talked to him.”

Gelly:  “Want me to try to track him down?”

Jordan:  “Please.  If you find him, see if he can Skype.  In the meantime, I’ll make a few phone calls.”

(15 minute break in conversation)

Gelly:  “Found Rock Man.  He’s waiting for us to Skype.”  (Jordan’s makes Skype connection.)

092615_2031_Characters5.pngRock Man:  “Hey guys.  Long time, no talk to.  Gelly said you need some advice.  A big dog like you needs advice from me?”

Jordan:  “Yes, from you.  And who says I’m a big dog.  More like a fire hydrant.  Anyway, the challenge is two-fold: (i) how to get groups to take personal responsibility for fixing their problems; (ii) how to get groups to quit blaming someone else for their problems.”

Rock Man:  “And you’re calling me about…let me guess…about getting the black community to take more personal responsibility.”

Jordan:  “Gelly, he’s so perceptive.”

Rock Man:  “What do you want me to do?  I’m just one guy.”

Gelly:  “From my perspective, you’re an ideal role model for taking personal responsibility.”

Rock Man:  “In what way?”

Gelly:  “I don’t know the whole story but I understand you grew up in Eastern North Carolina, dirt poor with parents who had very limited education…”

Rock Man:  “…8th grade at best…”

college degreeGelly:  “…and yet all the children, what 6 or 7 of you, earned college degrees and several earned graduate degrees.  That just didn’t happen by accident.”

Jordan: “Gelly, Rock Man won’t tell you this part.  He started out in Charlotte at Johnson C. Smith, but after his sophomore year transferred to University of North Carolina-Charlotte in order to get tougher classes.”

Gelly:  “See, Rock Man, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.  You took personal responsibility for getting a better education.  Would have been easier to stay at JC Smith but you didn’t.  You are the perfect role model.”

Rock Man:  “C’mon, my shoes are getting brown.  There are much better role models basketball_player_06than I am.  What about Michael Jordan or LeBron James or a bunch of other athletes as role models?”

Jordan:  “You and I have talked about this before.  I think professional athletes are exactly the wrong role model for young black males.  How many black professional athletes, or for that matter all professional athletes, have a college degree?  Not just attend college but graduate?”

Rock Man:  “I don’t know but not many have degrees.  The problem among black teens is education isn’t sexy like athletics.  Plus education doesn’t guarantee big bucks.”

thimbleJordan:  “What percent of college athletes make it to the pros?  As small as that number is, what percent of high school students eventually end up in the pros?  Its miniscule — a thimble full at best.”

Gelly:  “Rock Man, your parents pushed education over athletics.  My parents were 1st-generation immigrants.  My mother was barely literate.  But you know what their goal was?  What they made significant sacrifices for?”

Rock Man:  “Same as mine?  Getting the kids through college?”

Gelly:  “The goals of my parents and your parents were no different from goals of most Old Man immigrant families.  Achieving those goals might take 2 or 3 generations and many will be grandparents or great grandparents before it happens.  But the goals of the parents were clear – get the kids through college or a comparable technical school.  So if families from Europe, Asia, wherever follow the same model, why shouldn’t black families?  Your parents did…and look how the family turned out.”

Jordan:  “Seems like the best person to start talking to the black community is someone who understands the hardships of the black community and the cultural norms.”

Gelly:  “Like I keep saying, someone like you Rock Man.”

Rock Man:  “Ok, you guys are persuasive.  How do I get started?”

Jordan:  “My view is the black community needs to: (i) take the lead in this effort; (ii) ask for help from other groups, even the police.”

Rock Man:  “Let me ask again, ‘how do we get started?’”

TrumpJordan:  “Since the Revenge Revolution, the political environment is less toxic that a few years ago…”

Rock Man:  “…you mean like the toxic environment when Donald the bomb thrower was running for president?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Make no mistake, the atmosphere is still tense.  If I were you, Rock Man, I’d reach way across the aisle and ask for help from a perceived adversary to the black community.  Someone, who if you worked with, would cause everyone to turn their head.”

Rock Man:  “Like who?”

Gelly:  “Earlier today I looked at a short video from 2016 made by Bill O’Reilly.”

Bill-O’ReillyRock Man:  “Like the Bill O’Reilly?”

Gelly:  “I said exactly the same thing when Jordan asked me to look at it.  Let me tell you, O’Reilly listed some very good questions that would help start a meaningful dialogue.”

Jordan:  “So, why not reach out to O’Reilly and get his opinion?”

Rock Man:  “Can you send me the link to the video, please?”

Jordan:  “Take a look and then ask yourself, what’s really the downside of talking to him about the issues he listed?  You might be surprised.  He might be very helpful.”

Rock Man:  “Alright, I’ll review and get back.”


#209 The Blame Game (Part 1)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC. 

Jordan:  “Gelly, tell me all about the cruise to Alaska.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “We had a wonderful time.  Lots of stunning scenery, great food…and even more fun to be with old friends again.”

Jordan:  “What about pictures?”

Gelly:  “Lots.  But I’ll show you later.  We’ve got work to do and I need to get caught up.”

Jordan:  “Alright, just a couple more minutes.  I hope you didn’t think too much about us when you were gone.”

Gelly:  “Tried not to but the occasional topic at dinner was what goes on in Washington…”

Jordan:  “…and you were considered the expert, right?”

blameGelly:  “Yes.  What baffled our group were two things: (i) how politicians take positions that seem to be so out of touch with how most people think; (ii) all the finger-pointing.  We ended up calling the finger-pointing ‘The Blame Game.’”

Jordan:  “When you said ‘The Blame Game’ what popped into my head was the song ‘The Name Game’ by Shirley, Shirley…”

Name Game CoverGelly:  “Shirley Ellis.  ‘C’mon everybody!  I said let’s play a game.  I’ll betcha I could make a rhyme out of anybody’s name.”

Jordan:  “How do you know that song…and who sung it?  That was before your time.”

Gelly:  “My mother had the record and a bunch of us played it over and over until we learned the words.  Want me to sing some more?”

Jordan:  “Not now, thanks.  So your group thought too many individuals and groups were finger-pointing — blaming someone else for whatever went wrong.”

TrumpGelly:  “And the group thought the tipping point happened during the 2016 Presidential election.  ‘The Blame Game’ seemed to reach new heights.”

Jordan:  “You mean starting with the Donald?  He seemed to blame everyone for everything.”

Gelly:  “More than the Donald.  Hillary wasn’t as bad as the Donald.  Her comments seemed more like denial than blame.  But what really troubled our group was all the blame directed toward police…and then the assassination of five police officers in Dallas.  People in our group were livid with the vicious verbal attacks on police by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ group.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Why was your group so angry?”

Gelly:  “All people remembered hearing from ‘Black Lives Matter’ was cops are bad.  No one in Black Lives Matter seemed to ask, ‘Gee, I wonder why cops seem to arrest proportionately more blacks than whites?’  The claim always seemed to be cops are racists, cops are using racial profiling…always a reason to blame someone else.”

Jordan:  “But never a question from Black Lives Matter about personal responsibility?”

Gelly:  “Exactly.  Let’s not be naïve.  Every organization has some bad apples, the police included.  But I cannot believe cops just go around arresting people for fun.  There has to be some suspicion.”

Jordan:  “What did your group say about efforts to eliminate racism?”

torahClipGelly:  “Another let’s-not-be-naïve issue.  Racism has been around for thousands of years, and will likely be around for a few thousand more.  People need to realize racism is not going away.  If you don’t believe it, read the book of Exodus.”

Jordan:  “Egyptians enslaved the Jews over 5,000 years ago…and still don’t like Jews.  At every Shabbat and holiday service congregants are reminded by the rabbis that our ancestors were once slaves and do not treat other people the same way.  Next item, what’d your group say about profiling?”

Gelly:  “When the topic of profiling came up, someone took out an iPad and google_logoasked if anyone at the table used Google for a search engine.”             

Jordan:  “Of course everyone said ‘yes’ to Google.  What was the follow-on question?”

Gelly: ”Has anyone ever noticed the ads on Google and other websites seem to be tailored just for you?”

Jordan:  “Ahh, now that you mention it.”

Gelly:  “I think we began to understand anyone who uses the internet is being profiled.”

Jordan:  “You probably don’t know I was an early adopter of profiling.  I was introduced to profiling when I was director of marketing at Buick.”

Gelly:  “What’s a profile based on?”

past-to-futureJordan:  “Profiling is based on assumption that past behavior is a predictor of future behavior.  The early approach to profiling was crude by today’s standards.  The early profiling used software that combined zip codes and buying patterns.  The information was combined into clusters, which were given names that described a certain a group of buyers.”

Gelly:  “Names like what??”

Jordan:  “’Pools & Patios,’ ‘Down Home Gentry,’ ‘Hard Scrabble,’ ‘Blue Blood Estates’…as I recall there were 40 clusters in all.”

Gelly:  “So, how’d you use the info from the clusters?”

Jordan:  “One early use of the clusters or profiles was to target buyers for a specialty car we developed.  Rather than doing national advertising for the car, which would have been very expensive, we targeted the advertising at clusters who we thought would be most likely to buy.”

Gelly:  “How successful was the launch?”

party-popper-confetti-clip-art-929294Jordan:  “Far exceeded our expectations.  Buick and the dealers made tons of money.  The success of that program convinced a lot of people of the value of profiling.”

Gelly:  “Interesting example.  I see why you used profiling.  Really worked.”

Jordan:  “So now many organizations use profiling – from car companies to philanthropic organizations to the police to Google.  What else came up in your group?”

mirror-clipart_jpgGelly:  “Simple questions.  Where’s the effort by the black community to stop the blaming others and start looking in the mirror for the answer?  Where’s the effort to begin improving their own lot?   Where’s the effort to increase graduation rates?  Efforts to reduce births to unwed mothers?  Efforts to reduce drug use?  Lots of blaming others but seemingly few efforts at self-improvement.”

Jordan:  “I agree.  The silence from leaders in the black community has been deafening.  One cannot delegate personal responsibility.  Forget blaming someone else for your failures.”

Gelly:  “Any discussion about personal responsibility seems to be a no-no…not politically correct.  Blaming someone else is OK but personal responsibility can’t be talked about.”

Jordan:  “One of the best list of questions about personal responsibility that need to be discussed by and with the black community was put together by Bill O’Reilly.”

Bill-O’ReillyGelly:  “The Bill O’Reilly?”

Jordan:  “Yes, the Bill O’Reilly.  I often think O’Reilly is off in the weeds.  But this time his commentary seemed to hit the nail on the head.”

Gelly:  “You download a copy?”

Jordan:  “No.  Let me get the link. (pause)  Here it is.  The commentary is from 2016.  It lasts about 5 minutes.”

Gelly:  “I’m going to get a coffee, watch it, then let’s talk some more.”



#208 Why Vote for the Donald (Part 5 of 5)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington officeConversation begins Entry #204.

Greenie:  “Jordan, we’ve got to finish your fraternity brother’s list soon.  I need to get back.”

TrumpJordan:  “Alright.  The #10 reason to vote for the Donald, ‘Budget: Balance the Damn Thing.’”

Greenie:  “That seems like a logical statement.”

Jordan:  “It’s logical part of the time but not logical all the time.”

Greenie:  “When’s it logical…and when’s it not logical?”

Jordan:  “When do you think it’s logical?”

BeanCounterGreenie:  “If I look at my own situation, I get more concerned about spending too much during times when the economy is not so good.  I turn into a bean counter.  So I guess when the economy is not doing well we should balance the budget, right?”

Jordan:  “In the most diplomatic way I know, ‘you’re wrong.’”

Greenie:  “But it seems as if everyone should cut back on spending when times 010414_1635_16TeachingS2.jpgare not as good.  I don’t understand what’s not logical about that.”

Jordan:  “First, and I’ll keep this short because of your limited time, the actions of government to help keep the economy healthy are exactly the opposite of actions of individuals.”

Greenie:  “You mean as consumers cut back, the government should increase spending?  Increased government spending will get the economy going again?”

Jordan:  “Exactly.”

Greenie:  “Never thought about it quite that way.  But now I see why.  If the Spiralgovernment cuts back the same time as consumers, then incomes decline even more and spending would fall further.  The economy would then get worse, a whole lot worse, not better.”

Jordan:  “Why people don’t understand such a simple fact is beyond me. There is a ton of empirical evidence supporting that fact.  Government should increase deficit spending in bad economic times and try to run a surplus in good economic times.”

Greenie:  “Then why do Republicans keep harping on a balanced budget?  The Trumpsters were not the first Republicans do make the claim about a balanced budget and some Republicans still are.  Why?”

teacher_-_economicsJordan:  “Because many Congressional reps and a lot of Republican voters do not understand the difference between macro and micro-economics.  I can forgive someone who did not go to college for not understanding.  But virtually all Congressional Representatives and Senators have advanced degrees.  There is no excuse for not understanding the difference.”

Greenie:  “Anything else about the deficit?”

Accountant-Clip-Art6Jordan:  “Yes, there is a major difference in the required  accounting method between government and business.  If government could use the same accounting method as business, much of the deficit would disappear.  At the same time, if business had to use the same accounting method as the government, profits for a lot of companies would become deficits.”

Greenie:  “I believe you but the reasons are probably a bit arcane.  Let’s save it for another day.  What about reason #11?”

Jordan:  “Foreign countries: stop giving them our money.  Charge them for our help.”

Greenie:  “What’s not logical about that idea?”

globeJordan:  “I assume the Trumpsters were talking about foreign aid.  In broad terms foreign aid consists of three major chunks: (i) military related; (ii) assisting countries with economic development; (iii) Ex/Im Bank – export/import bank.”

Greenie:  “Remember, keep this simple.”

Jordan:  “Military-related would be expenditures for bases in say Germany, Japan and Korea.  One can argue how long such bases should remain open but the US does get something in return for these expenditures — military bases on foreign soil.  The bases allow the US to respond more quickly to threats to friendly nations and to threats to the US directly.”

Greenie:  “So, if the US doesn’t believe the bases are worthwhile, then we should close them?”

Jordan:  “Fair question that needs to be addressed by Congress.  But it’s a Turtleneckcomplicated question without a simple answer.”

Greenie:  “The other two chunks of foreign aid sound like some handout.”

Jordan:  “Direct foreign aid is designed to help countries struggling with economic growth or stability.  Just for fun, what percent of the budget goes for such aid?”

penny_back_40225_lgGreenie:  “If the Trumpsters thought it was such an issue, it must be at least 10%…maybe 15% or 20%.  Otherwise it doesn’t seem really worth talking about.”

Jordan:  “Try less than 1.0%”

Greenie:  “You mean like less than a penny per dollar?  So what’s the big deal?”

Jordan:  “The issue made the Trumpsters feel good I guess.”

Greenie:  “But let’s say the US charged the countries for this aid.  Why shouldn’t they pay?”

Jordan:  “If the country could pay, they wouldn’t need the aid.  Part of the reason for the aid is to buy ‘goodwill’ for the US.  If the US doesn’t support these developing countries, enemies of the US will.”

German FlagGreenie:  “A question then is whether buying some intangible like goodwill is worth the cost, even if it’s a penny.”

Jordan:  “Think about Germany and Japan after WWII.  What would those countries be like today without the Marshall Plan?  What would Europe and Asia be like”

Greenie:  “I see your point.  What’s this bank thing?”

Jordan:  “Ex/Im Bank – export/import bank.  Part of the bank’s function is to lend money to developing countries to assist with buying US-made products.”

Greenie:  “That seems like some sort of give-away program to those countries.”

Jordan:  “Think of it as a way to increase US employment.  Over the years, two of Boeing Logothe largest beneficiaries have been Boeing and Caterpillar.   A bunch of US companies have benefitted but Boeing and Cat have been in the group of big dogs.”

Greenie:  “You said Ex/Im is some type of bank.  Aren’t banks supposed to make money rather than give away money?”

Jordan:  “Ex/Im generates more money for the US economy than it costs.  Why the Trumpsters never understood that is beyond me.”

Greenie:  “You think the lack of understanding the value of foreign aid contributed to the Revenge Revolution?”

Jordan:  “When one does not understand the benefits of something…or even Talk Radioworse takes no time to try to understand…then it’s easy to be influenced by 10-second sound bites, negative advertising and talk-radio blowhards.  The short answer, ‘yes,’ not understanding foreign aid contributed to the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie:  “What’s #12?”

Jordan:  “’Fix the tax code.’”

Greenie:  “I agree with that.”

Income TaxJordan:  “So do I.  The underlying issue is how to structure the tax code to: (i) generate enough income to run the government; (ii) be easy to understand; (iii) be fair to all income levels.”

Greenie:  “You agree the tax code is too complicated, right?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Here’s an idea.  If the Trumpsters in 2016 and Republicans now really want to fix the tax code, then sit down with the Democrats and agree that the entire tax code has to be written on one sheet of 8.5’ x 11.0” paper – front and back – using 11 point font.”

Greenie:  “You think that would work?”

Jordan:  “The one sheet of paper would force both parties to think through the purpose of taxes and force compromises on both sides.”

Greenie:  “Interesting idea.  What’s the last one on the list?”

Jordan:  “’#13, Respect our military and our flag.”

military-clip-art--military-clipart-8Greenie:  “Sounds simple but what do you think that means?”

Jordan:  “I don’t know.  If the implication is the military is always right, then I can’t buy the argument.  And neither could the Founding Fathers.  The US military Commander-in-Chief is a civilian, not a military officer.”

Greenie:  “What about respect for what the military does – protect the country.”

Jordan:  “OK, but that’s what the military is for.  Besides what about respect for protection provided by police and fire departments?”

Greenie:  “You getting off track?”

Jordan:  “Possibly but I get very upset by the implication that the military is DoD Logoabove reproach.  The military has some great people.  And some bad ones.  Folks, the military is an organization with good parts and not so good parts.”

Greenie:  “Mmm.  To the Trumpsters the military is a part of a government agency that should be highly respected.  Yet other government agencies should not be respected and some even dismantled.  Trumpster logic I guess.”

Jordan:  “Trumpsters…well all of us…need to remember what the military is and what it is not.  I think the respect for the military would increase significantly if the US reinstated conscription.  Doing a stint in the military…or any kind of government service…provides a different perspective. ”

Greenie:  “Conscription is controversial.  Save that for another day.  What about respect for the flag?”

Jordan:  “I could be wrong, but my interpretation of Trumpster logic — respect for the flag is tied to respect for the military.  Therefore anyone who opposes what the military supports…Vietnam, Iraq, for example…by implication doesn’t respect the flag.  Trumpsters seem to link the two.”

american-revolution-728714Greenie:  “While you were talking, I had a vision of the same conversation happening in say 1775.  Would someone who didn’t respect the British military and the British flag be scorned by the Trumpsters?  I mean those who didn’t respect it were the liberal rebels.”

Jordan:  “With that comment Greenie, I think you answered the question if the statements and actions by the Trumpsters contributed to the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie:  “Thanks for the help Jordan.  I’m outta here.”     


#207 Why Vote for the Donald (Part 4)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington officeConversation begins Entry #204.

Greenie:  “Back from the break.  Let’s see if we can wrap up reviewing your Trumpfriend’s list of ‘Reasons to vote for Trump.’”

Jordan:  “We can try but there are seven (7) more to go.”

Greenie:  “Alright.  I’ll be patient.  What’s the next reason?”

Jordan:  “#7 on the list, ‘Culture: Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

Greenie:  “Culture, culture.  What do you suppose they meant?  Culture can be a Constitution Clip art‘way of thinking or behaving.’  Wonder if that’s what they meant?”

Jordan:  “I’d say ‘yes.’  When Trumpsters said Constitution and Bill of Rights they usually meant ‘let’s go back to the 18th Century.’”

Greenie:  “So even though the Bill of Rights were not part of the original Constitution…and were added as Amendments #1-#10, the Trumpsters really meant that Amendments #11-#27 were added later and therefore should not count.  Right?”

Jordan:  “Probably, except the 2nd Amendment, which should be considered in today’s terms.”

092615_2031_Characters8.gifGreenie:  “They want to revert to the 18th Century except for the 2nd Amendment.  But for the 2nd Amendment the definition of the right to bear arms should (i) ignore the original meaning of a well-regulated militia, which we now have with a standing military and police forces and (ii) include allowing almost anyone to easily buy and own a near replica of all weapons used by today’s infantry, whether Army or Marines.  I’ll give credit to the Trumpsters for one thing.  At least they were consistent.”

Jordan:  “How so?”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Trumpsters would consistently pick an interpretation of a law that fit their need.  The logic of the interpretation could vary from one law to the next and sometimes even for the same law, depending on circumstances.  But they were consistently inconsistent.”

Jordan:  “You mean like the first 10 Amendments should count as part of the Constitution but #11-#27 shouldn’t count?”

Greenie:  “Especially exclude the 14th Amendment since ‘those people’ have never the-underground-railroad-2deserved to be citizens.  The 22nd Amendment applied only if there was a Democratic president.”

Jordan:  “Greenie, are you being overly cynical?”

Greenie:  “I can understand some of the individual statements about why to vote for Trump.  But you start to combine 3 or 4 of them, the approach is so out of whack it would not pass the first test in Logic 101.”

Jordan:  “That’s because you think through issues and understand how the Talk Radiodifferent issues are linked.  When your decisions are based solely on emotion, logic does not matter. Think about the Rushman and talk radio.  Logic just gets in the way.”

Greenie:  “OK, what’s #8?”

Jordan:  “And, #8 is, ‘Drug free: Mandatory drug screening before and during Turtleneckwelfare.’  I guess that means…”

Greenie:  “Guess?  No reason to guess.  Blacks, of course, are the cause of most of the drug problem in this country.  Blacks also dominate the welfare rolls.  Blacks won’t give up drugs.  Therefore reduce the welfare rolls through drug tests.  Plain and simple solution.”

Jordan:  “But whites make up the majority of people on welfare.  And whites make up a majority of people using illicit drugs.”

Greenie:  “Doesn’t matter what the facts are.  Blacks don’t deserve the same Ranttreatments as whites.  Get blacks off the welfare rolls and a major spending issue solved.  Get with it Jordan.”

Jordan:  “You’re starting to sound like a Trumpster.  What’s happened to you?”

Greenie:  “I’ve seen the light.  Seriously, you know I don’t support what I just said.  But I agreed to write a series of articles about the causes of the Revenge Revolution.  At least I need to understand all perspectives, especially the extreme right…and the extreme left.”

goofy006Jordan:  “Now I’m the one getting confused…and frustrated.  You really think the logic behind a drug testing program for welfare was to exclude blacks?”

Greenie:  “Absolutely.  When this list was written in 2016, blacks on welfare tended to be concentrated more in urban environments and those states leaned more toward Democrats.  Whites on welfare were concentrated more in rural areas and many of those states leaned toward Republicans.”

Jordan:  “You’re suggesting states with higher concentration of whites could circumvent any Federal law re welfare?”

Greenie:  “Of course.  Look at how Republican governors tried to circumvent the Affordable Care Act, even to the detriment of many tax-paying citizens in the state.  Look at how Republican legislators tried to circumvent the SCOTUS ruling on abortion rights.  And your wonderful state of North Carolina…”

Jordan:  “Please, that’s where I live.  I’m considered an illegal alien by many natives.”

McCroryGreenie:  “Look how NC led the attack on legalizing discrimination against the LGBT community.  The legislators and governor did not care how much money it cost the citizens or the state in lost revenue.  The NC legislators had to uphold 18th Century principles.  Legislators in red states are so predictable.”

Jordan:  “Make that red-state legislators were predictable.  We’re seeing some change since the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie:  “What’s #9?  I thought we could zip through the rest of these but I guess not.”

Jordan:  “#9 is ‘Freebies: None to non-citizens.’”

Thumbs DownGreenie:  “I guess that means no welfare, no education for children, no ER treatment at hospitals…even if you have a green card, paying taxes and following all the rules to become a citizen.”

Jordan:  “You think the Trumpsters meant to exclude people with green cards?”

Greenie:  “I just interpret what I read.  The term ‘freebie’ is not defined, of course.  I just hope the Trumpsters never get ill and have to visit a doctor or hospital while travelling outside the US.”

Jordan:  “Reciprocity would be a good lesson for the Trumpsters.  ‘Sorry you’re ill but you need to return to the US for treatment of your appendicitis.  Our Mickey-Mouse-fingergovernment does not allow treatment of people who are not citizens of this country.  Good luck on making it back.”

Greenie:  “Now you’re being cynical.  But I do like the idea of the Trumpsters getting the one-fingered salute.  Should we try to tackle the rest of the list?

Jordan:  “No.  This looks like a good stopping point.”


#206 Why Vote for the Donald (Part 3)

First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington officeConversation begins Entry #204.

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “I forgot, what were the 2nd and 3rd reasons to vote for the Donald?”

Jordan:  “#2 was ‘Put God back in America’ and #3 was ‘Borders, closed and tightly guarded.’”

Greenie:  “Let’s take #2, ‘Put God back in America.’  If I’m not mistaken, the founders of this country clearly separated church and state in the Constitution.  What are the Trumpsters taking about?”

Jordan:  “I suppose they believe…really I have no idea what they are talking about…other than they want the US to become a Christian nation.”

Greenie:  “Sorta like some nations in the Middle East where Islam is the state Constitution Clip artreligion?  I guess they want the US to be like Saudi Arabia or Syria.  How can the Trumpsters keep claiming the US should return to the Constitution as written originally and not understand the separation of church and state?”

Jordan:  “Look, I’m equally confused by their reasoning.  Let’s move on to #3 – borders.”

Greenie:  “I assume they thought a 3,000 mile wall or 6,000 armed border patrol agents stationed every half mile would keep ‘those people’ out.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “I agree that immigration laws should be enforced.  That’s pretty much standard procedure worldwide.”

Greenie:  “True, but guess what?  Republicans in Congress would not support an updated immigration bill that most US citizens considered fair and reasonable.”

Jordan:  “Underlying the comment about borders seems to be desire to deport 10+ million undocumented immigrants.”

Greenie:  “Were the 10+ million undocumented immigrants an issue?  Yes.  At the same time, many hard-core Republican businessmen exploited the immigrants.  Did these business people press for new legislation or deportation?”

Jordan:  “One of the reasons I’ve kept the list all these years is to remind myself how voodoo-2015958many people can be put in an absolute frenzy by claims with no supporting rationale…or even worse, flat-out lies.  It’s like voodoo.”

Greenie:  “This conversation is beginning to drive me nuts.  But I agreed to write articles about causes of the Revenge Revolution.  Let’s address a couple more reasons to vote for the Donald, then take a break.”

Jordan:  “#4, ‘Congress: on the same health-care plan as everyone else.”

Greenie:  “Since Republicans refuse to support single-payer national health-care, there are a zillion combinations of plans.  If the reference point for Trumpsters is the same combination-lock-01health-care plan as enjoyed by say senior corporate executives, Congress is probably being short-changed with their current plan.”

Jordan:  “I think the Trumpsters meant the plans for the rest of us schmoes.”

Greenie:  “But we schmoes have many plans.  Which one do the Trumpsters want Congress to have?  Yet, another statement with no explanation.”

Jordan:  “Alright, #5.  ‘Congress – obey its own laws.  I assume that an example is members of Congress being exempt from insider trading laws.”

Greenie:  “Hey, one Trumpster reason I can agree with.  As for insider trading, why Wall Street Signshould Congress be exempt?  The buying and selling of stocks has no bearing whatsoever on their role in Congress.  The exemption is a real head scratcher.”

Jordan:  “Why Greenie, how dare you think the need for an exemption is a sham?  If I’m a Congressman, let’s set up an investigation of an industry or a company.  Then make the finding either classified or suggest to DOJ, FBI or IRS to begin an investigation.  And before the announcement becomes public…”

Greenie:  “…either buy the stock if the news will be good…like a big juicy government contract…or sell shares short if news likely to be bad.  And because we’re in Congress the ill-gotten gains are exempt from insider-trading laws.”

jailJordan:  “If company executives took the same actions, they would be charged with insider trading and subject to fines and/or jail time.  Seems only fair that members of Congress should be exempt from insider trading laws.”

Greenie:  “Such cynicism.”

Jordan:  “You know what’s tragic.  I doubt if many of the Trumpsters really knew how egregious some of the exemptions for Congress really were.  The use of campaign funds in another classic exemption.  Those kinds of exemptions legislated by Congress and for Congress, even if not understood widely, are some of the reasons…at least from my perspective…that we had the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie:  “Next reason for the Donald.”

English_OnlyJordan:  “#6 – English only.”

Greenie:  “English only for what?  English is already the language for international commerce.  Another example — English is required for communications by all pilots on international flights.”

Jordan:  “I think the Trumpsters’ point is immigrants in earlier years made an effort to learn English more quickly than today.”

Greenie:  “Fact is many earlier immigrants never did learn English.  My grandparents are a perfect example.  When my parents weren’t around, I became their interpreter.  Being their interpreter forced me to learn Yiddish, which I really didn’t appreciate until I got older.”

Jordan:  “I understand what you’re saying. What I wonder is whether the Trumpsters ever thought about why there were enclaves of immigrants in major cities.  In New York, you had Little Italy, Chinatown and a bunch of places where you were hard pressed to find signs in English, let alone anyone speaking English.”

Greenie:  “The problem, if you want to call a non-English language a problem, goes away in a generation or two.  If my grandparents spoke English, I probably never would have learned Yiddish.  That’s true for 2nd generation immigrants from most any country.”

Jordan:  “What about requiring the immigrant learn English to become a citizen?”

Greenie:  “Pardon me?  Just how many Trumpsters could pass a citizenship test?  US-Citizenship-Test-Blog-photoAnyway, English has been a requirement for citizenship for many years.  There are a couple of exemptions – certain disabilities and being above a certain age – 50 or 55.  For the age exemption, which my grandparents qualified under, you also need to have been in the US for so many years.  But that’s it for exemptions.  The vast majority of people need to learn English to become a US citizen.”

Jordan:  “Back to a repeating question as we analyze the list of reasons to vote for TrumpTrump – what’s the real issue?”

Greenie:  “Jordan, the lack of logic in these reasons…maybe the lack of logic is the Trumpsters’ logic…is why I need a break.”



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