At what point will America start being globally considered a Plutocracy? | HackPoets on WordPress.com
It has become increasingly clear that, at present, America is no longer representative of its people, but rather that of a small percentage of its corporate interest groups and wealthy individuals, and that these influential minorities have little to no interest in addressing the critical threats that we now face as a fundamentally divided country. As defined, the American government now more closely resembles that of an Oligarchy rather than that of a Democracy.
Oligarchy versus Plutocracy
“Definition: An oligarchy is an organization controlled by just a few businesses or individuals. They have enough power to turn the organization to benefit them to the exclusion of other members. They maintain their power through their relationships with each other. Oligarchy is from the Greek word oligarkhes. It means “few governing.” A plutocracy is a subset of an oligarchy. A plutocracy is when the leaders are rich.”
“An oligarchy can occur in any political system. In a democracy, oligarchs are not elected by the people. Instead, they use their relationships and money to influence the elected officials. In a monarchy or tyranny, they have enough power and money to influence the king or tyrant.” “Oligarchs only associate with others who share those same traits. They become an organized minority as opposed to the unorganized majority.” “Oligarchies exist in any organization that delegates power to a small group of movers and shakers.”
“Oligarchies increase income inequality. That’s because the oligarchs siphon a nation’s wealth into their pockets. That leaves less for everyone else. As the insider group gains power, it seeks to keep it. As their knowledge and expertise grow, it becomes more difficult for anyone else to break in.” “Oligarchies can become stale. They pick people like them who share the same values and worldview.” “If an oligarchy takes too much power, it can restrict a free market. They can agree informally to fix prices which violate the laws of supply and demand.”
“An oligarchy forms when leaders agree to increase their power regardless of whether it benefits society. The people in charge are very good at what they do, otherwise they wouldn’t have risen to that level. That’s how they can continue to take more wealth and power from those that don’t have those skills or interests.”
“Oligarchies can also arise in a democracy if the people don’t stay informed. This happens more when a society becomes extremely complex and difficult to understand. People are willing to make the trade-off. They allow those with the passion and knowledge to rule to take over.”
[What Is an Oligarchy? Pros, Cons, Examples] https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-an-oligarchy-pros-cons-examples-3305591
The term Oligarchy is clearly a loaded term, and after the initial research study documenting this was released in 2014, there was widespread and heated condemnation as backlash to this assertion.
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
[Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/testing-theories-of-american-politics-elites-interest-groups-and-average-citizens/62327F513959D0A304D4893B382B992B/core-reader
The largest argument against this conclusion, appeared to be that since the majority of the country’s population agreed with the policies being enacted by government leaders, then America cannot be an Oligarchy because the majority of the population is in democratic agreement with the policy makers in charge of creating them.
If this was the case in 2014 however, it is no longer true now, since it has been repeatedly and definitively proven throughout 2017 that the majority of the country’s population is not at all in agreement with the policies being enacted by our government leaders. Yet, these policies continue to be drafted specifically to appease the wealthiest individuals and corporate donors who were in most support of the Republican party and the rise of Donald Trump regardless.
The Policy Makers
“They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters. Across a sprawling country, they reside in an archipelago of wealth, exclusive neighborhoods dotting a handful of cities and towns. And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.”
“Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.”
“But regardless of industry, the families investing the most in presidential politics overwhelmingly lean right, contributing tens of millions of dollars to support Republican candidates who have pledged to pare regulations; cut taxes on income, capital gains and inheritances; and shrink entitlement programs.”
[The Families Funding the 2016 Presidential Election — The New York Times] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/11/us/politics/2016-presidential-election-super-pac-donors.html
This exorbitant mix of super-rich individual donors, Super PACs, and corporate lobbyists was a common theme all throughout the 2017 election, and now, this too is becoming a factor in the 2018 elections yet to come.
“After Donald Trump appeared to endorse Ron DeSantis’ campaign for Florida governor last week, a handful of the biggest and most influential billionaires in Republican politics threw their support behind the three-term GOP congressman, upending the race in the nation’s biggest swing state.” “The stable of billionaires and millionaires listed on DeSantis’ “ Finance Leadership Team ,” obtained by POLITICO, includes casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, hedge fund heiress Rebekah Mercer, investment tycoon Foster Friess and other donors who have funded the conservative Koch brothers’ network and President Trump’s campaign. Just last week, Trump weighed in on Twitter to say that DeSantis “would make a GREAT Governor of Florida.”” “DeSantis has yet to formally announce his 2018 campaign for governor, but his intentions to seek the office became clear in May after he established a state political committee, called the Fund for Florida’s Future, that’s allowed to raise and spend unlimited soft money from corporate contributors.”
Note this in particular: “the Fund for Florida’s Future, that’s allowed to raise and spend unlimited soft money from corporate contributors”
““This sets DeSantis apart from the rest. He will have the financial resources and the ground game and the Trump base to be an incredible statewide candidate,” said David Bossie, a DeSantis backer who founded the Citizens United conservative group, served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager and just co-authored the new “Let Trump Be Trump” book plugged by the president.” “Normally, national contributors such as Adelson and Mercer don’t get involved in state races. But DeSantis has earned their trust and become a sort of “billionaire whisperer,” said one Florida-based Republican fundraiser. As a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, DeSantis is a frequent Fox News guest who has earned a reputation as a small-government conservative, an opponent of the independent federal investigation of Trump and a supporter of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. And donors have so far loved what they have heard. “These big national finance givers are true believers.”
“”Mercer’s support for DeSantis stands above the others. She manages the political giving of her father, hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, and played a key role in the Trump transition. The Mercers, top supporters of Trump’s campaign, own a stake in the conservative Breitbart media enterprise and the Cambridge Analytica data firm used by Trump’s campaign.””
[Billionaire kingmakers swarm Florida governor’s race after Trump endorsement — POLITICO] https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/29/florida-governors-race-billionaire-donors-gop-ron-desantis-319622
It has become abundantly clear that the only way at present to achieve public office in the highest circles of the United States government is to be individually wealthy, or to have full support by those who are. Without vast sums of money, it is impossible to fight the public smear campaigns that are financed by those who do have these resources, making it nearly impossible to succeed otherwise.
“America’s first billionaire president has remained devoted to the goal of placing his wealthy friends in his Cabinet, a top campaign promise. “I love all people, rich or poor,” Trump told a crowd of supporters at an Iowa rally in late June 2017. “But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person.””
“Mission accomplished. His Cabinet appears to be the richest in modern U.S. history, worth nearly $4.3 billion in aggregate. And it’s full of some of his oldest friends — and biggest donors.”
[The $4.3 Billion Cabinet: See What Each Top Trump Advisor Is Worth] https://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2017/07/05/the-4-3-billion-cabinet-see-what-each-top-trump-advisor-is-worth/#41bc2dd35dfc
With the recent passing of the 2017 tax reform law, which was forced through both houses in Congress by all Republicans so fast that most didn’t even have time to read it, the wealthiest individuals in America, along with their corporate interest groups, are guaranteed to increase their personal wealth at a much faster rate and in much greater quantities than they were before.
One of the primary arguments that Republicans used in favor of this tax reform, was that it would stop wealthy corporations and individuals from moving money out of the United States where they were stockpiling trillions of dollars in offshore accounts in other countries. They said this was important, because all money that is moved out of the American economy and into such offshore accounts pulls money out of general circulation, which weakens the American economy.
This is true, because the continuous circulation of money in an economy keeps the economy alive and healthy, in the same manner that the continuous circulation of blood in a human body keeps a person alive and healthy. If money stops flowing freely in an economy, the economy fails.
So, what the Republicans neglected to say when they forced through their 2017 tax reform is this, if you continuously funnel trillions of accumulated wealth into the personal and corporate bank accounts of a miniscule percentage of the country’s population, it eventually pulls all of this money out of general circulation in the same manner as though all of this wealth were being sent out of the country into offshore accounts. This occurs because the horded wealth is no longer available to flow freely within the circulatory system of the economy. This is analogous to the proverbial dragons who roost on their piles of treasure so that nobody can ever see it, or like terminal parasites that suck so much blood out of the body that it is no longer possible for the person to survive. In a country as big as the United States, this process takes a long time to occur, but if left unchecked, this does eventually happen.
The Republicans argue that this cannot occur, because the accumulated wealth is reintroduced back into the economy by corporations through job wages amongst other business expenses, and by super-rich individuals through their personal spending and charitable donations. In practice however, history has shown that corporations are more likely to reinvest excessive profits back into the same corporations in order to increase their value and pay out higher bonuses for top level executives, and super-rich individuals are more likely to use their wealth to accumulate yet more wealth.
For example, despite what the Republicans say about this, the vast majority of the super-rich in American society have little to know interest in donating large percentages of their personal wealth to finance public services like health and education programs, infrastructure repair programs, law enforcement, or any of the other various services that are required for American society to function properly each day so that everything doesn’t come to a grinding halt, nor would they be willing to do so without strings attached to benefit them personally or to push personal or political agendas if they did. This is one of the primary issues that impact for-profit charter schools in the United States for instance, where the education of children is influenced by the agendas of corporate board members and their investors.
“Vowing to fight public school profiteering, Democratic state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would either block or seriously limit for-profit companies’ ability to operate charter schools in California.” “The two proposals seek to address a growing concern among legislators that Wall Street-traded companies managing some of the state’s charters are raking in mountains of state aid while providing students a poor education.” ““When we allow private companies to run public schools, we invite them to focus on shareholders and profit margins instead of on children and student achievement,” McCarty said in an interview. “Profiting off the public good is bad public policy.””
“He says he first learned of the problem last year when a San Jose Mercury News investigation cited state data showing that K12 Inc.-the biggest for-profit firm of its kind in the state-reaps tens of millions of taxpayer dollars annually while operating online academies that graduate fewer than half of their high school students.” “By the state’s calculation, about half of the 15,000 California students enrolled in the company’s schools are not proficient in reading and only a third are proficient in math-levels below statewide averages.” “The investigation also noted that kids who spend as little as one minute during a school day logged onto K12’s software may have been counted as “present” in records used to calculate the amount of funding the schools get from the state. And last year, the company reached a $168.5 million settlement with the state over claims it had done just that.”
“California’s effort to reign in for-profit charters is at odds with the Trump administration, whose top education official, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, has long been a supporter of the very for-profit companies these bills aim to stifle.” “When DeVos’ husband Dick ran for governor of Michigan in 2006, he disclosed that they were early investors in K12. And as chairwoman of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group, Betsy DeVos repeatedly called for expanding families’ access to online “virtual” schools.”
“Virginia-based K12 now faces a federal securities fraud lawsuit filed by shareholders as well. Seeking to dismiss the case, the company has argued in court documents that the plaintiffs “fall far short” of their burden to prove the complaint is justified.” “Still, in the months since Trump’s election, K12’s stock price has almost doubled.”
[California bills aim to crack down on for-profit charter schools | CALmatters] https://calmatters.org/articles/california-bills-aim-crack-profit-charter-schools/
It’s also important to note that this scenario already occurred once before, when the last full-house Republican majority enacted wide sweeping tax reforms to steeply tilt the balance of wealth into the possession of the richest members of society. This was during the early 1900’s, just before the total economic collapse in 1929, marking the beginning of the Great Depression. Just before the collapse, the personal wealth of super-rich individuals was inconceivably greater than the total wealth of all of the American population combined, and corporate stock values were higher than they ever were before. The same conditions are true right now.
Another primary problem with an Oligarchy is that those at the top are easily corruptible, because their incentive for governance is ultimately based on greed and consolidating their personal wealth and power. This too has become abundantly clear in today’s political climate. The recent revoking of Net Neutrality laws by the Republican majority in the FCC is a prime example of this.
Net Neutrality laws were enacted specifically to ensure that it would be impossible for unscrupulous and dishonest corporate interest groups to manipulate information access rights to extort higher rates from other businesses and individuals, to prevent censorship by deliberately restricting information flows, to prevent the suppression of specific demographic groups by limiting their access rights to online services, and to prevent various unethical business practices from being used to take advantage of people. Net Neutrality is meant to ensure that all people, regardless whether they are rich or poor, will have equal access rights to all internet based technologies and services.
It is logical to assume that the people who would be most in favor of revoking Net Neutrality laws are those who support legalizing unethical business practices and possibly even criminal activities to achieve greater profits or to control information flows for censorship. In fact, there is strong evidence that this is true.
“A study has found more than 7.75 million comments were submitted from email domains attributed to FakeMailGenerator.com, and they had nearly identical wording. The FCC says some of the nearly 23 million comments on Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to gut Obama-era rules were filed under the same name more than 90 times each. And then there were the 444,938 from Russian email addresses, which also raised eyebrows, even though it’s unclear if they were from actual Russian citizens or computer bots originating in the U.S. or elsewhere.”
“Many submissions seemed to include false or misleading personal information, with 57 percent of comments analyzed using temporary or duplicate email addresses, the Pew Research Center said in a study published Wednesday.” “There’s “clear evidence of organized campaigns to flood the comments with repeated messages,” Pew said in its study that found 94 percent of comments were submitted multiple times — in some cases, hundreds of thousands of times.”
[FCC Got 444,938 Net-Neutrality Comments From Russian Email Addresses — Bloomberg] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-29/fake-views-444-938-russian-emails-among-suspect-comments-to-fcc
Nevertheless, every Republican on the FCC panel voted in favor of revoking the Net Neutrality laws regardless of this obvious corruption of the polls to influence the vote.
In a report detailing the business ties of Donald Trump that were recently made public, the correlation of political corruption and ties to money flow are also clearly evident.
“FBME, previously known as the Federal Bank of the Middle East, was based in Tanzania but about 90% of its banking was conducted in Cyprus. A report by the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in 2014 said the bank was an institution of “primary money laundering concern”.”
“The report found that the bank was evading efforts by the Central Bank of Cyprus to supervise its activities, and that FBME was facilitating money laundering, terrorist financing, transnational organised crime, fraud, sanctions evasion, weapons trading and political corruption.”
“A 2014 internal report by the Central Bank of Cyprus about FBME that was obtained by the Guardian found that FBME had banking relationships with several Russians who were considered to be politically sensitive clients and that about half of the bank’s clients were Russian nationals, including Vladimir Smirnov, who is close to Putin, and Aleksandr Shishkin, a member of Putin’s political party.”
“The German bank is Trump’s biggest lender.”
[FBI investigates Russian-linked Cyprus bank accused of money laundering’ | World news | The Guardian] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/24/fbi-investigates-russian-linked-cyprus-bank-accused-of-money-laundering
Propaganda and Misdirection
The American mainstream media plays a significant role in perpetuating this situation as well. It is apparent that most mainstream media outlets appear more interested in fueling pointless left versus right arguments that seem to increase ratings without actually reporting the truth, and opinion-based talk shows like Fox and Friends for example, amongst others, are more interested in pushing conspiracy theories that are believed by millions of viewers as literal fact regardless of what is actually true, which continues to sew widespread confusion and division throughout American society.
Most Americans cannot identify the difference between literal truth versus what they are told is true or what is implied as true when hearing this information on opinion-based political talk shows, and they often simply believe what they hear and state this as absolute truth regardless, because they lack the time, resources, and knowhow to investigate all of these assertions personally.
It is the 2016 presidential election interference by Russia where this polarization is most observable however, as is the blatant use of propaganda and lies to manipulate the minds of millions of people each day.
“Trump continually asserts that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election is fake news, a hoax or a made-up story, even though there is widespread, bipartisan evidence to the contrary.”
“It’s not so much that Trump trades in falsehoods — it’s more that he tries to create a different version of reality simply by asserting it.”
“That denial is of a different order from most presidential posturing, said Nicholas Burns, who served as ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush. “I’ve worked for both parties,” Burns said during public testimony to the Republican-controlled Congress this summer. “It’s inconceivable to me that any of President Trump’s predecessors would deny the gravity of such an open attack on our democratic system.”
“Trump’s labeling of the Russia story as a hoax fits in with his pattern of dismissing critical coverage as “fake news.” He’s used the term when he believes his administration doesn’t get complimentary coverage” “Since the beginning of 2017, President Trump has publicly invoked the phrase “fake news” more than 170 times. Virtually every instance has been in response to critical news coverage.”
“It’s that characterization — that Russia’s interference in the election doesn’t even exist — that is contradicted by a mountain of evidence, say foreign policy experts.” “Once you say, we don’t mind foreign governments interfering with your elections, then you’re on your way to yielding up significant aspects of sovereignty,”
[2017 Lie of the Year: Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story’ | PolitiFact] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/dec/12/2017-lie-year-russian-election-interference-made-s/
As it turns out, one of the best tools found for instantly spreading propaganda and misinformation, also referred to as ‘fake news’, is the use of social media. Various mainstream social media technologies have been subverted and weaponized to manipulate the thoughts and decisions of millions of people, which has contributed significantly to the widespread polarization and increased hostilities between demographic groups within the United States and abroad.
“As many as 126 million people — or one-third the U.S. population — may have seen material posted by a Russian troll farm under fake Facebook identities between 2015 and 2017, according to testimony presented by Facebook’s general counsel at a hearing before the Senate on Tuesday.” “The figure is the largest yet of the possible reach Russian operatives had on the giant social platformin the run-up to last year’s presidential election and afterwards and reflects Facebook’s new disclosures that a Kremlin-linked misinformation agency used original content in users’ feeds, as well as paid ads.” “Twitter, which originally said it found 201 accounts linked to Russia that were sending out automated, election-related content, also increased its estimates of the reach these operatives had on its platform. It has now found 36,746 such accounts, according to testimony to be presented by the company’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett.”
“The companies’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism shows that Russian attempts to influence U.S. voters by using the power of social media platforms and an understanding of hot-button social issues was much broader than originally thought.” “The goal, said Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch, was “to try to sow division and discord — and to try to undermine our election process.””
“The Russia propaganda machine used a mix of ads and original posts. Facebook says an estimated 11.4 million people in the United States saw at least one ad that was paid for by the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency between Jan. 2015 and August 2017.” “But the number of U.S. residents who saw ads was dwarfed by the estimated 29 million people who got content the firm generated and shared in their Facebook News Feeds.” “And because people frequently share, like and forward material, Facebook estimates that approximately 126 million people might have seen this divisive material during the two years in which the group was using Facebook to place ads and distribute postings.” “”Many of the ads and posts we’ve seen so far are deeply disturbing — seemingly intended to amplify societal divisions and pit groups of people against each other. They would be controversial even if they came from authentic accounts in the United States. But coming from foreign actors using fake accounts they are simply unacceptable,” Stretch’s testimony said.”
“The Internet Research Agency is a St. Petersburg-based organization that posts Russia-government approved propaganda online, under fake identities, according to U.S. intelligence officials.” “Twitter says the Russia-related accounts sent “approximately 1.4 million automated, election-related Tweets,” which were seen by approximately 288 million Twitter users.” “Google found two accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency which spent a total of $4,700 on its platforms during the 2016 election cycle, it said in a blog post Monday. The company also found 18 YouTube channels it believes were associated with the campaign. These channels uploaded political videos that represented 43 hours of content. They got 309,000 U.S. views from June 2015 to November 2016.” “Facebook also revealed that in the late summer it began to see fake personas being created on the platform by a group linked to a Russian hacking group that has been publicly linked to Russian military intelligence services.” “Those fake personas were being used to “seed stolen information to journalists” and were organized under the banner of a group that called itself DC Leaks, according to the Facebook testimony. The stolen information included information and files stolen by hacking into the email accounts of former White House chief of staff John Podesta’s and the Democratic National Committee.”
[Russian fake accounts showed posts to 126 million Facebook users | USA Today] https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/10/30/russian-fake-accounts-showed-posts-126-million-facebook-users/815342001/
In fact, there is a huge push by the Republican leadership to convince the American public that, because all Republicans were united in passing the 2017 tax reform, nothing is wrong, all is well with the United States government, and that the Trump administration has been a great success for America.
Donald Trump: “It’s been an amazing experience, I have to tell you. Hasn’t been done in 34 years, but actually, really hasn’t been done, because we broke every record. It’s the largest — I always say, the most massive — but it’s the largest tax cut in the history of our country — and reform — but tax cut.” “And I have a whole list of accomplishments that the group behind me have done, in terms of this administration and this Congress, but you’ve heard it before.” “This is — this is going to mean companies are going to be coming back. And I campaigned on the fact that we’re not going to lose our companies anymore. They’re going to stay in our country. And they’re going to stay in our country. And you’ve been seeing what’s been happening, even at this prospect. But they have tremendous enthusiasm right now in this country. And we have companies pouring back into our country. And that means jobs, and it means really, the formation of new young, beautiful strong, companies. So that’s going to be very, very important.” “The pass-throughs, you know all about, and the small businesses are going to be big beneficiaries. We are going to be bring at least $4 trillion back into this country — money that was frozen overseas and in parts of the world. And some of them don’t even like us, and they had the money. Well they’re not going to have the money long. And so it’s really — I guess it’s very simple, when you think you haven’t heard this expression, but we are making America great again. You haven’t heard that, have you?” “So maybe what I’ll do — and by the way I mentioned ATT, but many companies have come forward and saying they’re so happy. And they’re going to be doing similar announcements. We’re going to see something that’s going to be very special. We’re bringing the entrepreneur back into this country. We’re getting rid of all the knots and all the ties, and you’re going to see. You’re going to see what happens. And ultimately, what does it mean? It means jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Mitch McConnell: “Well, let me just say, Mr. President, you made the case for the tax bill. But this has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration.” “We’ve cemented the Supreme Court right-of-center for a generation.” “You’ve ended the overregulation of the American economy. And that, coupled with what we did last night and what the House finished this morning, means America is going to start growing again.”
Paul Ryan: “Something this big, something this generational, something this profound could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership. Mr. President, thank you for getting us over the finish line. Thank you for getting us where we are.” “I just want to quickly just say a thanks because this has been such a team effort from everybody.” “This is generational. And we’re so excited that we are going to launch, next year, this fantastic tax reform so that the American people can see how we can truly reach our economic growth and our economic potential. And if it weren’t for all the leadership of the men and women up here, this would not have been made possible.” “But lastly, I just want to thank the American people. I want to thank the American people for putting their trust in us, for giving us this chance and this ability to make this moment possible. Thank you very much.”
Mike Pence: “I truly do believe, Mr. President, that this will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the life of our nation, a day when the Congress answered your call and made history.” “But, honestly, I would say to the American people: President Trump has been making history since the first day of this administration.” “President Trump has been restoring American credibility on the world stage, standing with our allies and standing up to our enemies. As the President reflected earlier today, our NATO allies are paying more toward their common defense. North Korea is more isolated than ever before. This President has put Iran on notice, and put the war on Afghanistan on a path to victory. And thanks to the leadership of this Commander-in-Chief and the courage of our armed forces, ISIS is on the run, their capital has fallen, and their so-called caliphate has crumbled across Syria and Iraq.” “But what brings us here today is that President Trump also knows that American strength starts with a growing American economy. And from the first day of this administration, this President championed free and fair trade; he rolled back federal red tape at record levels; we’ve unleashed American energy; and, today, Mr. President, you’ve fulfilled the promise you made to millions of Americans struggling in this economy, to cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses large and small.” “In August of this year, the President laid out his vision for a tax cut that would be a middle-class miracle, and that’s exactly what the Congress passed today.” “I can tell you I serve with him every day. President Donald Trump is a man of his word. He’s a man of action. And with the strong support of these members of Congress, President Donald Trump delivered a great victory for the American people. We made history today.” “But as the President said when we gathered this morning — a few of us, with a few less hours sleep than usual — we’re just getting started. And I can assure you this President and this entire administration will not rest and relent until the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more.” “So thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your love for this country and the people of this country. And I know in my heart, with the strong, continued support of the members of Congress who are gathered on these steps, and with God’s help, you will make America great again.”
[Trump, Congress Celebrate Tax Cut Passage: “Always A Lot Of Fun When You Win” | Video | RealClearPolitics] https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/12/20/watch_live_president_trump_signs_tax_cuts__jobs_act.html
Most of these statements are deliberate misdirection aimed at instilling a false sense of security, while also distracting the American public from concentrating on all of the other critical issues that occurred during the last year, as well as on the critically dangerous issues that are currently happening right now at home and abroad.
Much of the mainstream media contributes to this misdirection by repeating it across the country in various ways, conveying this as positive signs that all is well without ever mentioning how and where these statements are false. As a result, other media agencies that do report the truth and break these points down as they should be, are often ignored entirely by millions of people who will only believe what they have heard on other media outlets that will not report this information as fact.
Some of the issues that the Republican leadership are primarily ignoring or misdirecting the public about, are critical dangers to the future viability and safety of the United States. Two of the most prominent of these are climate change and nuclear war.
“The report affirms that climate change is driven almost entirely by human action, warns of a worst-case scenario where seas could rise as high as eight feet by the year 2100, and details climate-related damage across the United States that is already unfolding as a result of an average global temperature increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900.” “It affirms that the United States is already experiencing more extreme heat and rainfall events and more large wildfires in the West, that more than 25 coastal U.S. cities are already experiencing more flooding, and that seas could rise by between 1 and 4 feet by the year 2100, and perhaps even more than that if Antarctica proves to be unstable, as is feared. The report says that a rise of over eight feet is “physically possible” with high levels of greenhouse-gas emissions but that there’s no way right now to predict how likely it is to happen.” “When it comes to rapidly escalating levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the report states, “there is no climate analog for this century at any time in at least the last 50 million years.””
“That document, dubbed the Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis, finds that high temperatures could lead to the loss per year of “almost 1.9 billion labor hours across the national workforce” by 2090. That would mean $160 billion annually in lost income to workers. With high levels of warming, coastal property damage in 2090 could total $120 billion annually, and deaths from temperature extremes could reach 9,300 per year, or in monetized terms, $140 billion annually in damage. Additional tens of billions annually could occur in the form of damage to roads, rail lines and electrical infrastructure, the report finds.”
“This could all be lessened considerably, the report notes, if warming is held to lower levels.”
“Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and President Trump have all questioned the extent of humans’ contribution to climate change. One of the EPA’s Web pages posted scientific conclusions similar to those in the new report until earlier this year, when Pruitt’s deputies ordered it removed.” “The report comes as Trump and members of his Cabinet are working to promote U.S. fossil-fuel production and repeal several federal rules aimed at curbing the nation’s carbon output, including ones limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, oil and gas operations on federal land and carbon emissions from cars and trucks. Trump has also announced he will exit the Paris climate agreement, under which the United States has pledged to cut its overall greenhouse-gas emissions between 26 percent and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025.”
“Perhaps no agency under Trump has tried to downplay and undermine climate science more than the EPA. Most recently, political appointees at the EPA instructed two agency scientists and one contractor not to speak as planned at a scientific conference in Rhode Island. The conference marked the culmination of a three-year report on the status of Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary, in which climate change featured prominently.” “The EPA also has altered parts of its website containing detailed climate data and scientific information. As part of that overhaul, in April the agency took down pages that had existed for years and contained a wealth of information on the scientific causes of global warming, its consequences and ways for communities to mitigate or adapt.”
“Other departments have also removed climate-change documents online: The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, for example, no longer provides access to documents assessing the danger that future warming poses to deserts in the Southwest.” “And when U.S. Geological Survey scientists working with international researchers published an article in the journal Nature evaluating how climate change and human population growth would affect where rain-fed agriculture could thrive, the USGS published a news release that omitted the words “climate change” altogether.”
[Trump administration releases report finding ‘no convincing alternative explanation’ for climate change — The Washington Post] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/11/03/trump-administration-releases-report-finds-no-convincing-alternative-explanation-for-climate-change/
“U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the world’s leaders Tuesday that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War and “fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.”” “In his first state-of-the-world report since taking the reins of the United Nations on Jan. 1, Guterres put “nuclear peril” as the leading threat warning that “we must not sleepwalk our way into war.””
“Beyond the nuclear threat, Guterres painted a grim picture of a troubled world facing grave challenges with many people “hurting and angry” because they “see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing.”” “”Societies are fragmented,” he said. “Political discourse is polarized. Trust within and among countries is being driven down by those who demonize and divide.””
[U.N. chief: Nuclear threat at highest level since Cold War — Chicago Tribune] http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-un-guterres-nuclear-threat-20170919-story.html
“In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump called Jong Un a suicidal “rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the US is “forced to defend itself or its allies.” Jong Un allegedly responded with a written statement, in which he called Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” and said that “a frightened dog barks louder.””
“”Trump is basically creating audience costs for Kim to back down,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told Vox. “If you dare Kim, it creates pressure for him to respond with his own provocation.””
“Yong Ho did not specify where or how high North Korea’s hypothetical Pacific “H-bomb” test might occur. However, the foreign minister did reportedly suggest it could be the most powerful ever detonated in the Pacific.”
“If this is not a matter of imprecise wording, such a blast would exceed the US’ strongest-ever nuclear test explosion.” “On March 1, 1954, the US military set off the “Shrimp” thermonuclear device on a platform in the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands (about 2,300 miles southeast of Japan and 2,700 miles southwest of Hawaii).” “This was part of the US military’s Castle Bravo test series, and the blast was equivalent to exploding 15 million tons of TNT, or roughly 1,000 times as powerful the US attack on Hiroshima that inflicted some 150,000 casualties.” “While the military considered Shrimp and Bravo a success, its repercussions were disastrous. Researchers underestimated the device’s explosive power by nearly three-fold — and many were nearly killed when an artificial earthquake shook their concrete observation bunker 20 miles away.” “Shrimp’s four-mile-wide fireball destroyed about 200 billion tons of Bikini Atoll coral reef, turning much of it into radioactive fallout that spread all over the world. The worst of it sprinkled over atolls to the east, killing many people by causing radiation sickness.” “Today, the 250-foot-deep, 1-mile-wide crater left by the blast is visible from space.”
[What could happen if North Korea blows up a hydrogen bomb in the ocean — Business Insider] http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-thermonuclear-explosion-pacific-effects-2017-9
“Still, 14,900 nuclear weapons exist, and even a local nuclear war could have worldwide effects. All nuclear powers, the U.S., the UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, possess small atomic bombs, delivered to the target by airplane or missiles. Such tactical nuclear weapons, involving short to intermediate range low-yield devices, are designed for use in sea battles, to clean difficult terrain or to level urbanized areas. One such bomb can ignite an industrial area, causing firestorms that last for days, several such bombs can set a large city burning. The detonation of just one warhead, with the destructive power of 150,000 tons of TNT would still burn 500 square miles of a city.”
“A local, land-based nuclear war, including the hypothetical use of 50 to 100 such tactical bombs, would send five to 6 million tons of dust, ash and soot from the fires into the atmosphere. Rising into higher layers, this smoke would effectively reduce solar radiation on Earth, causing an “atomic autumn.” Temperatures would slightly drop for a quarter of a century, reducing the growing season of plants by between 10 to 40 days. Reduce crop production could lead to widespread famine in an already struggling world. Changes in temperatures also cause a shift in weather patterns. The precipitation during the monsoon, providing rain for millions of people in Asia, could decrease as much as 20% to 80%. As such large circulation patterns as the monsoon have global effects, also Africa, Australia and the Americas could become drier. Estimated 1 to 2 billion people could face starvation, as much victims as a global nuclear war would claim. Unrest quickly would spread, followed by further conflicts over the limited resources.”
“This grim scenario is not too far-fetched, something similar already happened in the past. The Little Ice Age, or LIA, was a period of weather extremes in Europe from 1300 to 1850. Exceptionally hard winters and cool summers caused crop failures all over Europe, resulting in widespread famine. Starving and desperate peasants revolted, and Europe plunged into chaos and war. At the same time, in Indonesia droughts caused rice harvests to fail, also Africa faced a series of devastating droughts in 1640 to 1644. In China floods and droughts caused bread to become so expensive, that even soldiers revolted. ” Winter Counts” by native Americans suggest hard and long winters were common during the 17th and 18th century in North America.”
“The exact causes of the chaotic weather during the Little Ice Age are unknown. Likely a series of volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, Iceland or Central America, injecting large quantities of volcanic ash into the atmosphere, disrupted the atmospheric circulation at the beginning of the 13th century. The mechanisms behind a nuclear winter and the cooling effect of a volcanic eruption are very similar. Volcanic ash and chemical compounds, trapped in the higher layers of the atmosphere for years, reflect and adsorb the solar radiation, cooling Earth’s surface. The Little Ice Age is an extreme scenario, as it lasted for several centuries and was caused by a long series of volcanic eruptions. However, single, less powerful eruptions still had effects on climate and society. Worldwide temperatures dropped by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit following the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. The 1815 eruption of Tambora was followed in 1816 by “the Year without a summer.” In North America frost and snow devastated New England crops, the resulting famine is remembered as “eighteen hundred and froze to death.””
[Even A Small Nuclear War Would Still Have Effects On Global Scale] https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2017/08/12/even-a-small-nuclear-war-would-still-have-effects-on-global-scale/#887a976507d2
Most people who do care concentrate on one or a few of these issues, but are not aware of, or have limited knowledge of the remaining issues, and thus see only a fraction of the total at one time. This is problematic, because they are often missing critical information to connect the various pieces of information so that it makes a coherent and logical pattern.
Most others however, have difficulty wrapping their brains around so much duplicity where crimes are perpetrated in terms of nations; not individuals, or they don’t understand the technologies involved in the crimes, or they cannot conceive of any way they can change or impact the occurrence of a particular event personally. So typically, at this point, they typically flip the channel to a favorite sitcom, reality TV or game show, sports or car racing channel, a movie, or they switch to playing a video game or watching YouTube videos of people or animals doing stupid things, and then simply ignore every disturbing thing that they just heard. This happens quite often, because these things are supposed to be somebody else’s problem.
In this case, ‘somebody else’s problem’ refers to our government officials. In America, we elect government leaders specifically so they can be the ones to handle all of these things for us, so we as citizens don’t have to. This is necessary, because the majority of Americans have enough things to deal with, including working full time to pay the bills, taking care of the children and other family members, going to school, and everything else that fits into the daily life of a typical American. None of which includes having to make foreign policy decisions, economic policies, government budgets, and so on.
As such, our elected officials are supposed to be assisting us by enacting policies that aid our health and prosperity, providing needed public services for education and other services, protecting the environments that we live and work in so that we can be safe and productive members of society, keeping our environments safe from crime, protecting us from hostile countries while working diplomatically with allies to strengthen global relationships, enhancing our economy without doing anything rash to harm it, and everything else that keeps things moving forward in a positive direction so we can feel secure and proud of what we have accomplished as a country.
Obviously, only the best, the most knowledgeable, the most qualified, and the most honorable people should then be trusted with these positions of power to ensure that these critical functions are accomplished ethically and without bias for the mutual benefit of all people in our society.
Well, shouldn’t they?
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Albert Einstein
Originally published at hackpoets.wordpress.com on January 1, 2018.