Judge Him on His Actions, Not on What We Fear

Now that he has taken office, Donald Trump is beginning to take action and make good on some of his promises. Glenn and his cohosts reacted to some of Trump's early executive actions on radio Tuesday.

"Let's judge him on his actions, not what we fear," Glenn said. "Can we do that?"

Listen to the clip above or read the transcript below.

GLENN: Okay. Let's judge him on his actions, not what we fear. Can we do that?

STU: Of course.

PAT: It's fair.

GLENN: So just on this action, not what we fear -- because what I fear is the same thing you fear: We start putting up trade barriers and we start moving into the things that he's also said he's going to do and we move into the area of tariffs, and we're in real trouble. But he hasn't done that. On this, I think this is a good thing getting out of TPP.

STU: You know, there are risks to it.

GLENN: China will be able to write all the rules. Right.

STU: You know, obviously if our issue is China with trade, now China is going to be writing the rules likely for this entire group of countries, which will be their negotiating starting point for anything going further. Of course, you know, Trump would say that he's going to be able to negotiate better deals. And he may very well -- he might. So to this one, I'm not thrilled in that. But I know I'm in the minority for sure.

GLENN: You happy, Pat?

PAT: Yeah. I think that's a good thing.

GLENN: Reinstating a ban on funding some abortion services. Trump's order yesterday reimposes a ban initiated in 1984 by Reagan on government support for international aid groups that provide or counsel women on abortion services. To receive any US aid, nongovernmental organizations will now have to certify they do not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning. This ban is called the Global Gag Rule, lifted by Obama after he took office in 2009.

What it doesn't do, it doesn't affect family planning or abortion policy here in the United States.

I think it's a step in the right --

JEFFY: It's a start.

PAT: However, good for -- what the hell are we funding abortions anywhere, but especially foreign countries.

GLENN: Yeah, yeah.

STU: That's an A-plus for me.

PAT: That's huge.

STU: And also, you know, it's been one of those things that every Democrat has not enacted and every Republican has. So Reagan had it on. Then the Clintons took it off. Then Bush put it back on. Then Obama took it off. So this is very consistent with past Republican policy since Reagan. And obviously as somebody who is pro-life, it's important.

GLENN: Third, ordering a government-wide hiring freeze.

Here's what the order does: The Trump administration directed the leaders of all federal agencies and departments to freeze hiring of new personnel. Any vacancies in the federal workforce as of noon on Sunday must remain unfilled, and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances, the order stated.

The decision is meant to counter the dramatic expansion of the federal work force since the Clinton administration, from 1.8 million civilian employees, to 2.1 million. The cost in health and retirement benefits are unsustainable, says the administration.

There's, frankly, to some degree been a lack of respect for taxpayer dollars for a long time, says Spicer.

What the order does not do: Military is exempt from the freeze. Each department or agency can also exempt any position that it deems necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities.

I think that's good. Just through attrition, you will cut the size of the government down dramatically.

STU: Yeah, I'm certainly a big fan of this one as well.

The left is -- their point is, just so we know, because it's always important to know -- their argument is essentially, of all the things that have expanded during the Obama administration, federal employment hasn't really expanded.

A lot of that is to do with economic collapse and that kind of thing. But he left office about the same employment level federally as he got into office, which is sort of surprising, I think.

GLENN: Really surprising.

STU: Because it did drop initially. And then it has come back up to even. So that's just something to note, if you care.

But, I mean, as a principle, I think it's a good idea. We obviously know the federal government is way too big. And this is -- you're right, a way of doing attrition without having to lay people off constantly and have all those negative headlines

GLENN: And it's hard to fire people.

STU: It's hard to fire people. You don't want to fire good people. When people leave, you don't replace them. And that has to go along with obvious cuts in the structure eventually. But there's enough fat on there that you don't have to think about that for a while.

GLENN: Yeah. Going to turn the federal workers against because how many times have we worked in a company where they just didn't hire replacements, and then you get -- congratulations, no pay increase, you get to do their job too. And you're like, oh, crap. So it's going to be bad on the morale of government workers.

He has announced his intention to renegotiate or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, with Canada and Mexico.

He is in conversations with Canadian/Mexican leaders. Trump has made clear his intention to renegotiate the deal, though no formal steps have been taken. He has also convened his generals and informed them that they have 30 days to submit a new plan for defeating the Islamic State group.

So these are the -- some of the promises that he made. Remember, he was out and he said, "We're not going to fight this the way -- I'm going to go to the generals, and I'm going to tell them, you scrap what you're doing and come up with something else. I'm going to do that day one." This is where TIME magazine is like, well, he didn't do that.

Well, he's informed them, and he's convened them. And he's telling them that they now have 30 days.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.