How Trump is Galvanizing Contempt for America

In Ian Bremmers Book “Superpower” he discusses three options the United States has as a world leader

  1. America can limit its commitments and obligations abroad (“Independent America”).
  2.  Become  a “Moneyball America” that selectively engages in high-yield, low-risk opportunities.
  3. Aim for “Indispensible America” by attempting to uphold the global order through the kind of broad-based global engagement that has typically marked U.S. foreign policy since World War II.

Lets start from the beginning of our “superpower status.” After WWII the U.S was instantly catapulted to the head of the class with a new found roll as – police officer – voice of reason and financier for the world.  This of course put the U.S in a very powerful position of inlfuencer.  By providing financial and or military assistance  the U.S was able to get country’s to adopt its ideals, provide its military additional places in the world to park itself and access to resources throughout the world at a discount – a very mafioso relationship with the world, if you will…

Throughout the years the U.S used this position in the world to grow its influence and ensure its place at the top, all while (secondarily) keeping the peace where it could and punishing where it couldn’t.

For the most part, we were the envy of many, “the shining city upon the hill” as Ronald Reagan so eloquently put it. But over time, with envy there will inevitably come jealousy and as the years went on, many countries that we treated like little brothers aspired for more and slowly started to come into their own.  With our help, countries that were once decimated, rebuilt started to excel in many areas. If it benefited us in some way we encouraged it and if it didn’t we imposed our will to slow or stop it completely. This tactic overtime started to breed contempt, but as long as we were protecting and providing, the contempt always stayed under the surface.

To maintain our position as leader of the world we had to walk a tight diplomatic line of aiding and protecting while maintaining a firm grip around the necks of many nations wanting to breakout – both fairly easy for the richest nation and strongest military in the world.  Slowly but surely after a few mistakes, a few hypocrisies and many advancements, the once little brother countries (many of whom we weren’t aiding, who once looked up to us on that hill, were looking at us eye to eye, even down at us in many ways.

Insert Barack Obama and his combination approach

Become a “Moneyball America” that selectively engages in high-yield, low-risk opportunities.

Aim for “Indispensible America” by attempting to uphold the global order through the kind of broad-based global engagement that has typically marked U.S. foreign policy since World War II.

While inheriting the almost impossible task of digging us out of an economic hole that we hadn’t seen since the great depression, he also had the tough task of re-branding the U.S and its position to the world.  He knew we pushed our influence to the its limits and he knew to many perception is reality, especially in the 24 hour news cycle / digital age. Obama spent much of his two terms taking on a more globalist view of things, unifying countries, with a we not I attitude.  This, at the very least slowed the increase of contempt for the U.S, but of course nothing is perfect and there were a few setbacks that didn’t help his cause, i.e Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and the debatable drone program. (I’ll leave the debate on whether these were justified or in the long run caused more harm than good).  Either way the perception didn’t look good for the U.S and opened a lot of eyes to just how much inlfuence we had, have and are still looking to gain, BUT to the world, Obama for the most part was trying to work with them, not shun them or just tell them what to do.

To wear all of the hats previously discussed its utterly impossible not to ruffle some feathers, which world leaders know this and accept.  That’s why we generally don’t hear much about spies and spying techniques, cause most know about it and accept it as a necessary evil – But again, perception and what is reality are two very different things –  and the people of the world perception of the U.S hasn’t been in great standing for quite some time, regardless of the relationships Obama was able to cultivate with these leaders.  To some people we were bullies, to others we weren’t very trustworthy and to many we started to become cocky.  To our liberal brothers and sisters, we impose our democratic ways onto other nations, yet our government was far from a well oiled machine. To our conservative counterparts, America breeds a culture of excess, violence, sex, drugs and rock and roll, all while casting judgement on other nations and how they should run their countries. Regardless of the growing contempt and slip ups, Obama was at the very least able to regain some legitimacy and respect throughout the world and people listened when he had something to say…

Obama G20 World Leader

Insert Donald Trump and is “America First” approach

America can limit its commitments and obligations abroad (“Independent America”).

Its already been know that many who once envied our American dream, lavish lifestyles, free spirited culture, have started to slowly and quietly despise it, hence the term “ugly American.” Trump has done that no favors by presenting himself to the world as the caricature of such that: entitled, loud, boorish and ill-informed, the epitome of excess, selfishness and ego.

Lets take the withdrawal from the world climate accord as a for instance  – it wasn’t terribly surprising, but the way he did it was a thumb in the eye to the rest of humanity. Trump didn’t merely state a principled disagreement. He turned the Rose Garden, where many amazing leaders have shaken hands and many major accomplishments have been announced into a setting for a political rally, and he delivered a campaign speech against the world.

“The Paris agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense,” ~DT

“The same nations asking us to stay in the agreement are the countries that have collectively cost America trillions of dollars through tough trade practices and in many cases lax contributions to our critical military alliance,” ~DT

“Foreign lobbyists wished to keep our magnificent country tied up and bound down by this agreement. It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States.” ~DT

It was less a statement of policy than a paranoid scream about devious foreigners scheming to cheat the United States. In reality, Trump was breaking with the whole world — more than 190 other nations that had made numerous concessions to U.S. demands

In foreign affairs, Trump’s undue bullying is breaking down alliances, undermining intelligence, economic, military and diplomatic cooperation, that has taken 50 plus years of walking a very tight rope to maintain.  His portrayal of the ugly American, attacking specific countries and religions, all while outright shunning much of the world is not only surfacing contempt, its breeding it.

Trump sitting alone G20

As we saw at the G20, he was a seemed lost, rambling, campaigning, justifying and leaders didn’t want anything to do with it.

Donald Trump Angela Merkel Frustrated G20

Leaders are no longer hiding their contempt and confusion with what he is trying to accomplish

We still are the richest nation on the world and we will most likely always have the most powerful military (which is a moot point with Nuclear and Cyber capabilities, but that’s for another day) – But as nations slowly look to work around us not with us we strengthen their relationships with each other and focus on THEIR common goals, which over time, under Trump, (its only been 6 mths), could involve putting us in our place…

Trump Racist

 

 

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Trump the Trojan Horse of Plutocracy?

Trump Oligarch Russia Democracy Freedom

Sadly, today a great majority of Americans are more satisfied with the appearance of freedom— as though it was a reality—and are more often influenced by those things that seem, rather than by those things that really are.  For many, working long hours and the chance to have a job that doesn’t quite pay enough, or just enough with overtime, is freedom.  Being free to come and go as you please, say or absorb what you want is free, but the one thing many are forgetting are the consequences most face.  Sure we are free to pick up and be artists, drive cross country, pursue our lifelong dreams, but for many (most) this just isn’t a reality.  50% of Americans are working paycheck to paycheck, unless you’re willing to risk starving or relinquishing your home, car or whatever else you have that has you completely handcuffed by debt, you’ll be working your whole life to just get by, accumulating things your marketed to daily to believe that you need, only to pass on this debt to your children.

In today’s society the word freedom is thrown around like its something guaranteed, an afterthought, not up for debate, something we settled a long time ago… “next subject.”  We are Americans, we are free, free to say and do whatever we want.  We feel sorry for other countries who don’t have those “luxuries,” so much so, that we continue to use our power of influence to force them to to adopt our ways of doing things.  Yet, who says our culture and policies are the way it should be?  Lets take a look at where these policies and culture have led us.  We lead the world in incarcerated people per capita, heroin overdoes per capita, gun deaths per capita, mass shootings per capita, cost of medicine, cost of education, wealth inequality, personal and nation debt, all the while ranking  25th  in infrastructure  behind undeveloped nations such as Oman and Barbados.  Are we really the ones that should be teaching others “how things should be?”  Are we as a society really that free?  If we have no voice, no money and most importantly no power to change these things and our so called leaders are puppets to big business, big banks, big oil, big anything, how free are we really?  The people that run these industries and profit from them, disguised in high end suits and hidden away in gated communities have become today’s equivalent to the new slave owner.

How did we get here?

Well let’s take a look at the difference between wealth and power? To avoid confusion, let’s be sure we understand they are two different issues, but one cant exist without the other.

  • Wealth, refers to the value of everything people own.
  • Power, has to do with the ability to realize wishes, or reach goals, which amounts to the same thing, even in the face of opposition.

First, wealth can be seen as a “resource” that is very useful in exercising power. That’s obvious when we think of donations to political parties, payments to lobbyists, and grants to experts who are employed to think up new policies beneficial to the wealthy. Wealth also can be useful in shaping the general social environment to the benefit of the wealthy, whether through hiring public relations firms, owning ALL of the media companies, marketing firms or having large stake ownership in certain businesses or industries.

Second, and VERY important to understand…certain kinds of wealth, such as stock ownership, can be used to control corporations, which of course have a major impact on how the society functions. The top 20% make up 91% of stock ownership in the United States, no further explanation needed there.

Third, just as wealth can lead to power, so too can power lead to wealth. Those who control a government can use their position to further their own interests, whether that means a favorable land deal for relatives at the local level or a huge federal government contract for a new corporation run by friends who will hire you when you leave government.

This brings me to the the point I want to make. If the top 20% have 84% of the wealth, (which we concluded encompasses tremendous amount of power and influence) it becomes very tough for the bottom 80% — moreover the bottom 90% — to get organized and exercise much power to make the changes necessary that actually benefit the masses.  When 90% of society’s interests aren’t being addressed and even worse being purposely ignored to benefit a very little, we have to make the assumption that we are not truly free, nor are we in a true democracy, but a Plutocracy.

Plutocracy – From Greek ploutos, meaning “wealth”, and kratos, meaning “power, dominion, rule”) is a form of oligarchy and defines a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens.

Now, here is where I speak to the left, right indifferent.  We may have many different ideals and some that we will NEVER come to agreement on, but one that we must come together on if we are every going to get back to “Country Over Party.”

The one thing that approximately 90% of shar –– we have zero control over of the policies put in place by the plutocrats to strengthen and lengthen their grip over us.  The sooner we realize that, the better off America will be in the long run.

Look at it this way…

We are teams, we are debating and battling each other daily, but the league we love and play for is under attack by a higher power.  Now more than ever is the time to put our small battle aside for a greater cause, US.

Our options…

Do you think Trump an ELITE and Republican (today) is going to upset the system and tackle the people he works and mingles with daily?  DO you think he is our saving grace? Or was it supposed to be a career Democrat who accepts millions in contributions from big business regardless of the rhetoric on the campaign trail and no matter how you spin will have favors to return?

OR do we need an uprising of sorts, someone who is not a part of the system, someone not connected or influenced by wealth or power, someone who is truly interested in strengthening an entire nation, not just a fraction of it?

I think, as crazy as this sounds, we were somewhat on the right track with Trump, even (righter with Bernie)…. follow me here before you stop reading, slam your laptop shut and call me nuts.

Many bought into Trump’s outsider roll, that he wasn’t a career politician, that he was just as sick of government not helping the masses – BUT most forgot or willfully accepted that he was an elite and didn’t care because he tapped into their deepest fears and closeted hate?

Millions took to Bernie, because “he isn’t one of them” either and spoke to exactly what was wrong with big business and the anti-90% policies that benefit the very few.  His problem was he up against BILLIONS of dollars of marketing, incumbent democrats and was so easy to brush off as someone who only spoke in rainbows and unicorns.

They both tapped into the need for an outsider, but the big difference –– one had the money and the friends (potentially friends in REAL high places) and the other had the ear of the millennials, who make a big stink, but lack the follow through (for now).  I wont dance around the fact that there was a tremendous amount of demagoguery that put Trump over the top, but that’s for another day…

The focus of this piece is getting to the bottom of the issue we ALL face, unifying people and making them understand that’s its not Republican vs. Democrat, its us vs them.  The us being the 90% of us who work day in and day out, crippled by debt and are one stroke away from going bankrupt.  The them being the the Plutocrats that control everything we see, hear and do all to their benefit. If we want decisions made that truly effect our day to day lives in a positive way, if we truly want to be a free society, we need to get to this place and get there fast.

Remember…

We are in an information war and unfortunately the wealthy and the powerful control much of where people get their information from,  Whether it be the 24 hours news cycle, social media (campaigns, bots, hacking) or multi-million dollar ad campaigns.  If we as a whole continue to rely on them for our information, we will continuously be led to vote for THEIR agendas and not for whats truly best for the people and country as a whole.  We need to get back to the facts, the data, historical mistakes and triumphs, trends and reality, if you will.  We need to trust, but verify, we need to not let our politicians glaze over questions, but drill down to the root, the whys, hows and plans.  Then we need to take this information analyze if for ourselves, see if it fits our agenda and MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS.  Finally when in office, we need to hold them accountable, remind them daily on what they committed to and what we need as a nation.

Now I ask…is this what democracy was supposed to look like when it was originally designed? Are we truly as free as we are led to believe?  And most importantly do you still think we should be a country divided by ideals and debatable differences or divided by 99% / 1%, the haves and have nots…

I leave with this…  Always be asking yourself what benefits a Plutocracy and what benefits the people?

Gandhi Greed 99% 1% Wealth inequality Trump

Donald Trump is everything Americans, The Media and Big Business Wanted

Donald Trump Xenophobia Bigotry Misogyny America

As Trump continues to push his agendas and seek out ANYTHING good, bad, right or absolutely untrue to use as a vessel,  America is being pushed further into their corners…lefter and lefter, righter and righter.  Lets take the shooting today of Congressman Steve Scalice:  In any “normal” presidency of the past there wouldn’t be instant talk of…

“Was he Muslim?”

No.

“Was he black?”

No.

“Ok, Was the Congressman Republican or Democrat?”

Republican.

“Republican?!  Ok, we need to find out as much as we can about the shooter!”  (AKA was he a Democrat?)

Now let the UFC style “debate” begin on CNN and the slanted conspiracy start spinning on FOX.  Sadly all of the coverage is not to get to the bottom of anything, but to make it as sexy as possible to gain viewers and boost ratings.  Shouting matches on CNN are a plus…the more conspiracy like the stories on FOX are a plus!   Ratings = $$$$$$$

The Vicious Cycle:

  • What drives politicians?  Large corporations and money.
  • What drives the Media?  Ratings and profits.
  • What drives Americans today?  Controversy and the need to feel like the have a purpose.
  • Where do Americans look for answers and guidance?  Politicians and Media!

Money buys power, power frees up those with money to make more, in-turn allowing them to purchase more power, perpetuating a vicious almost unbreakable cycle,  benefiting a very few. Combine this with Americas culture shift, blood thirst, lack of purpose, growing lack of education, the social media, misleading headlines, shortening attention spans and increased access…America is exponentially heading down an incredible, dangerously close to irreversible path.

The Perfect Storm:

Crazy as this sounds…………………….

Trump was exactly what this country wanted (not needed) for all of the wrong reasons.  Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but all of this was written on every proverbial wall around world.  In every paper, 24 hours news channel, social media, blog, Tweet and whatever new platform that gets the least, but most powerful, (potentially wrong) information out to the masses.

  • Wealth inequality is at its highest level ever.
  • Not one politician or banker is in jail for raping hardworking Americans out of BILLIONS of dollars during the housing bubble, yet millions sit in jail today on petty drug charges
  • The Kardashian effect (forgive me).  People’s growing need for controversy, scandal, sex, violence and their ability to access it in milliseconds.

The growing Divide:

  • The far right will continue their quest to suppress voters, embolden big business, control the masses and pillage as much of America to counter what they believe is a socialist revolution.
  • The far left will stand on the head of whats “right” potentially overlooking whats safe to counter what they feel is the infringement of American Values.
  • The far right will feel the need to impose more oppressing policies to counter what they feel is a weakening of America.
  • The far left will fight tooth an nail to keep the internet free and open to any thought / idea, good bad, healthy or evil, to counter what they feel is the controlling of Americans.

My point here is; this is not about Republican or Democrat, this about being driven too far left or too far right, digging in, then completely throwing rationale out the window for emotional idealism…regardless of whats truly right (correct) for America and its future.

What should it look like?

  • Logic states – we are a free state, but the internet has turned into a weapon and needs to have regulation.
  • Logic states – That America is a stronger more knowledgeable, healthier country when it has a greater distribution of wealth.
  • Logic states – that Tobacco, Alcohol, Oil, and Guns kill more Americans than everything in the world combined, including war and if the government truly cared they would regulate it more, but it also makes the most money…
  • Logic states – that the richest country in the world shouldn’t have 17 million people go to bed hungry every night.
  • Logic states – that if we keep charging our youth so much for college, eventually creating a knowledge vacuum…overtime other nations (that ALL have free education) will eventually surpass us in almost every sector, including military development.
  • Logic states – that the richest country in the world should be able to treat its sick without issue or debate.
  • History states – that EVERY major empire has fallen for 2 reasons….greed and or shortsightedness

In Summary:

  1. Our government Republican or Democrat needs big business to win.
  2. Big Business needs government to win.
  3. The United States is rapidly becoming a nation of more…more buying, more debt, more blood, more violence, more sex, more controversy, more need of a purpose.
  4. Social media platforms competing for exponentially shorter and shorter attention spans, needing to grow their profits continue to lower bar of the “information” and how it presented.

Add these together and America is spiraling further and further down a hole we may never be able to climb out of…