Debasement of America
Evolution of mass media from print to radio to video and to the Internet has produced an abundance of information sources and brought vast quantities of knowledge to all sectors of society and to all locations in the United States. Expansion and technological improvements of educational institutions have allowed a major portion of the populace to enrich their knowledge. Financial and physical ability to do extensive and worldwide travel have permitted the mundane to become worldly, the parochial to become cosmopolitan, and the secluded to be liberated.
Brought, allowed, and permitted, but not absorbed. Controlled, directed, and shaped are better terms. The knowledge revolution is an oxymoron – expansion of knowledge sources and supposed ease of access to those sources have brought familiarity with an exhaustive overload of content without ability to authenticate, successfully analyze, and capably use the content. Sources are controlled, access is subtly directed, and content is deliberately shaped. The knowledge revolution has manufactured the debasement of America.
The “debasement of America” is not easily quantified or qualified. There is no objective proof; it is noted in daily activities, in election choices to high office, and in accepted rhetoric from the political spectrum.
In a You Tube video, a history teacher talks to her high school class about the current refugee situation and asks the class, “where do refugees wanting to go to Europe come from? “ Student replies are:
One selected comment is not adequate proof, but complements what I know from my own experiences with segments, not all, of the younger generation.
The public seems unaware of the extent of major problems and how to adequately challenge them.
While portraying itself as the world’s leader in medical advancements, the United States, with 4 percent of the world’s population, has 18.5 percent of the COVID-19 cases, 14.8 percent of the number of deaths and, as of September 25, 52.6 percent of the still active cases.
A large portion of the public still refuses vaccinations. From Forbes, By The Numbers: Who's Refusing Covid Vaccinations, Robert Hart, September 5, 2021.
21% OF 18-29-YEAR-OLDS SAY THEY WILL NEVER BE VACCINATED.
18% OF MEN SAY THEY WILL NEVER GET A SHOT.
46% OF REPUBLICANS HAVE NOT YET BEEN VACCINATED.
44% OF WHITE EVANGELICAL PROTESTANTS HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED.
Climate change is another problem that has achieved awareness with the more scientific minded and socially liberal electorate but has not accelerated dutiful action. According to a Pew Research January 2020 survey, “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) say protecting the environment should be a top priority for the president and Congress, while about half (52%) say the same about dealing with global climate change.” More disturbing is the Pew survey showing that “Republicans with a high level of science knowledge were no more likely than those with a low level of knowledge to say human activity plays a strong role in climate change.” Only 17percent of Republicans that had high scientific knowledge accepted the role of human activity in climate change and 25 percent of those that had low scientific knowledge felt the same.
The election of Donald Trump to the office of Presidency and his continued large support is bewildering and debasing. Trump never showed any knowledge of issues nor attempted to gain knowledge from others and gather facts and opinions for decisions. He devised policies and decisions from “gut feel” of a real estate magnate and from what was good for the Trump enterprises.
One episode that defined Trump’s self-centered, egotistical, base character and total lack of care for the American people occurred when the Grand Princess docked in Oakland, California with 21 Covid-19 cases. Trump, was quoted as saying, “They would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay [on the ship]. But I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision. I would rather — because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.” https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-on-allowing-grand-princess-cruise-passengers-to-disembark-id-rather-have-them-stay-on-personally-2020-03-07
At a September 11, 2021 meeting with New York City (NYC) police and firefighters Trump railed about the “rigged” election, charged the present administration with a disgraceful exit from Afghanistan, while “during the last 18 months of his tenure no American had been killed in Afghanistan,” and accused Biden of taking credit for assisting bereaved 9/11familes, although, of course, this relief was primarily due to his previous efforts. Little rhetoric to honor the brave actions of NYC‘s police and firefighters on September 11, 2001. No real care about their dedication and devotion to America, only words to make them care about dedication and devotion to him.
Revelations that supporters are getting bilked of their money does not sway support for Donald Trump.
New York Times, By Shane Goldmacher and Rachel Shorey, Published Feb. 1, 2021, Updated Aug. 7, 2021
Former President Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party leveraged false claims of voter fraud and promises to overturn the election to raise more than a quarter-billion dollars in November and December as hundreds of thousands of trusting supporters listened and opened their wallets.
But the Trump campaign spent only a tiny fraction of its haul on lawyers and other legal bills related to those claims. Instead, Mr. Trump and the G.O.P. stored away much of the money — $175 million or so — even as they continued to issue breathless, aggressive and often misleading appeals for cash that promised it would help with recounts, the rooting out of election fraud and even the Republican candidates’ chances in the two Senate runoff races in Georgia.
How can people, knowing from well publicized reports that Trump is using their contributions to his fraudulent claims for his personal benefit, continue to support him?
Preventing the assault on America’s capitol was not exclusively a policing failure; the twisted behavior culminated from inadequate response to Trump and his supporters’ unsubstantiated attacks on the validity of the 2020 election. A simple analysis could have uncovered the illogical thinking and convinced many that the charges of election fraud were fallacious. Media and public servants allowed deranged accusations to inflame the electorate and remained complacent to the obvious – Illogical thinking leading to illogical actions.
It is amazing that a large percentage of the American public, from all political persuasions, remain convinced that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election. This is equivalent to believing that Saddam Hussein had weaponsof mass destruction. Really!! Why did this poorly substantiated story gain a life of its own and become well accepted?
Seventeen United States (US) intelligence agencies certified the Russian interference.
Acceptance of the charges came from the belief that 17 US intelligence agencies reached a definite conclusion that Russia interfered in the US election. Former Director of National Intelligence chief, James Clapper, revealed that no specific intelligence agency was involved in the analysis. A few analysts from various agencies made an assessment, which is far from being definite proof, and 17 intelligence agencies accepted the assessment without adding any of their own intelligence.
The Mueller report described the Russian government interference.
None of the individuals indicted for interfering in the election are Russian government officials.
Eleven Russian intelligence personnel have been indicted
Cyber warfare, using computer hacking, has become a favored means for all intelligence agencies to gather information and confuse the adversary with misinformation. At campaign election time, when computers buzz with finger tapping of wide-eyed volunteers, eager idealists, and networking individuals, completely untrained in preventing cyber-attacks, the campaigners become big fish for the "phishers." Hacking is an intelligence operation and not an election interfering operation. The Russian intelligence agents had no previous knowledge of what they would find and therefore had no prepared method of how to use the information. Kudos to Robert Mueller for conducting an exhaustive and penetrating investigation that proved investigating agencies can actually gather intelligence - tremendous accomplishment.
Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) personnel have been indicted.
The IRA is a private and not a govenment agency; it operates all over the world. Despite interpretations of some correspondence, words, thoughts and deeds, because its activities were infinitesimal compared to the total election rhetoric and communications, why would the IRA believe it could influence the election? Being a public relations company, is it more likely that it was data mining – placing ads, and learning by feedback their effectiveness and the public pulse, information that could be sold or used in other election activities in Russia? Widely predicted, and even conceded, that Hillary Clinton would win the election, why would any foreign entity support the wasting of resources and leave itself open to criticism in a futile effort?
A YouTube video made by InfoWars writer, Paul Joseph Watson, claimed Hillary Clinton had several diseases, including autism and a brain tumor. That video had more than 3 million views and was mentioned by media. None of the IRA ads provoked conversation. Has anyone seen an IRA election ad or a You Tube video prepared from its messages?
The Russians engaged in a massive interference operation.
Despite intention to inflate figures and characterize the “interference” as massive, the activity was trivial and had no impact.
According to New York Magazine, about 3,000 ads were purchased at a cost of around $100,000. Compare this to a Facebook audience in the United States of 214 million users, and more than 1.8 billion monthly active users, millions of electioneering twitter accounts, hundreds of mass demonstrations in the United States, and spending for the 2016 elections (presidential and congressional) estimated at $6.5 billion by campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets.org. Facebook’s General Counsel, Colin Stretch, stated, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, that Clinton and Trump together spent $81 million on pre-election day Facebook ads. It is obvious that IRA's efforts could not compete for eyeballs of the American electorate.
From USA Today:
We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians (ED: Not Russian government and only 3,517 of many millions by others during the election). Here's what we found. Only about 100 of the ads overtly mentioned support for Donald Trump or opposition to Hillary Clinton. A few dozen referenced questions about the U.S. election process and voting integrity, while a handful mentioned other candidates like Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush.
Media inflation of the eyeballs to “Exposure of organic content to more than 126 million Americans,” is countered simply by noting that there are no figures of who actually looked at and paid attention to the messages. If an attempt by IRA to hold a rally, in which nobody showed up, is descriptive of the endeavors, then only a few people paid attention to IRA’s efforts.
Only about 100 ads in overt support for Trump! Let's be real. Is that interference?
The idea that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 Presidential election is as ridiculous as the belief that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Oh yes, Hillary Clinton did not lose the election; it was stolen from her by the malevolent Russian government.
Continually believing the unbelievable
In foreign affairs, citizens of the United States have witnessed
(1) A Korean War that has not ended in a peace treaty and resulted in North Korea obtaining nuclear weapons.;
(2) A Vietnam War, based on a spurious Tonkin Resolution, that caused 58,318 dead and 300,000 wounded Americans and ended with a U.S. defeat:
(3) Interference in the Soviet/Afghanistan war that caused the emergence of al-Qaeda, the rise of the Taliban, and an eventual attack upon American soil on 9/11;.
(4) A 20-year war in Afghanistan that resurrected a stronger Taliban;
(5) An invasion of Iraq, based on a false claim of Iraq developing weapons of mass destruction, which enabled ISIS to coalesce forces and Iran to become influential in Iraq;
(6) A promotion of the rebels in the Libyan civil war, based on the unproven claim that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was prepared to massacre Libyans in Benghazi, and, whose military interference caused turmoil in Libya and strengthened ISIS elements;
(7) An incoherent policy in the Middle East that has not solved any of the crises, caused the destruction of the Palestinian people, and, if the policy continues, also the Houthis in Yemen.
In domestic affairs, the principal problems continue unresolved year after year, decade after decade — turbulent race relations, gun violence, drug addiction, inner city crime, lack of immigration reform, economic uncertanties, expensive health coverage, government polarization, infrastructure deterioration, and climate warming.
Smart people make smart decisions.
Decisions made by United States’ leaders in the last decades have not been smart.
Combine their efforts and the public support that have allowed those efforts and we have the debasement of America.
October 1, 2021