Category: World Events

Who Really Runs The World

Jacob Rothschild Image by Vanity Fair

What if I told you approximately 150 people run this world? How could such a thing be possible? Why would global citizens allow such a thing to happen? Who could possibly believe such a thing?

Well, 150 people are running this world. They are the elite members of NGOs. You just don’t know it. Or worse, you have chosen to ignore it. They have no loyalty to any country. They operate from a global viewpoint.

They decide who runs governments, banks, stock exchanges, companies, and even religious institutions. They decide which countries will thrive. Nothing at the highest levels of government occurs without their influence.

These men (yes, they are all men) use their enormous wealth and/or power to manipulate the masses for their own ends. They incite dissonance if it is to their benefit. They promote lies through social media outlets that sway public opinion. They also generously donate funds to non-profit organizations. On the surface, this provides them a cover for their global, and often criminal actions.

There are crimes of passion, debauchery, violence, greed, pride, envy, theft, child trafficking, murder, and the list goes on. The men that run this world have become experts at one or more of these. They learn to like it, no, they become addicted to it. Many are born and raised to wear the crown of power. Global control is their mantra. Greed is their only motivation. Power is their elixir.

They hide in plain sight. That is of course if you live in a very, very wealthy neighborhood. They give generously to good causes, not to ease their guilt, but to gain tax benefits. But the real reason for their generosity is to lend themselves a sense of legitimacy. This is such an effective yet simple ploy they use to gain the trust of the people they are stabbing in the back.


That is how much thought they give to anyone or anything outside their circle of like-minded friends. Starving children in Africa. Nope. Kids in cages. Nada8.8% of people living in poverty on a global scale. Too bad. Climate change. Let them all die; we have our bunkers. They exist simply to gain treasure.

Since Homo Sapiens have walked the earth clever men have manipulated the masses through lies and deception. The first such one would have schemed to make others believe that he alone controlled the rising and setting of the sun. Hence, the first ruler rose to power using a lie while promoting fear. Sound familiar?

But now our rulers have made a quantum leap in the use of deception. Today’s 24-hour news media allows them to manipulate the masses into believing that murder at the hands of law enforcement is justified. Or the disappearance of dissonates is just a mystery. Or a deadly pandemic is just a hoax. And that a crash in the stock market is horrible and the global economy will tank. One can write volumes on these alone.

What is far worse is their manipulation of faith. This is without doubt the most powerful weapon in the game of deception. Name me one faith-based institution that is not dripping with money. Go ahead. I’ll wait. The greatest scam perpetrated on humanity is religion. Do you really think Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism would have been viable institutions for over a thousand years if others did not profit from them?

I am not denying that spiritually advanced souls have incarnated on earth to provide us guidance. I am quite sure they had no intention of their messages being highjacked by profiteers. How do I know this? It was never the intention of Jesus, Muhammed, and Buddha to control the masses. Nevertheless, this was the result derived from their messages by men hungry for power and wealth. Buddhism largely escaped this takeover. Islam has been weaponized. Christianity was highjacked by the Catholic Church for untold riches and influence.

No president, dictator, or autocrat has risen to power in the last 100 years or more without their influence. These pre-selected heads of state have been chosen to perform certain tasks. Those could be to have a beneficial or catastrophic influence. Whichever benefits the band of 150 brothers.

Do not believe for an instant your vote matters in Presidential elections. No matter what country you live in. The candidates have been proffered to the voting public.

Yes, this article is most likely not what you wanted to hear. Knowledge is power. Perhaps if enough citizens of the world realize that a small group of men is largely determining our fates, we can begin to be less gullible, more inquisitive, and start a groundswell revolution.

Trump’s America – Red, White, And Red

Why Trump Cannot Win The Popular Vote

Image by Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette

Why would anyone running for President do everything in his power to anger voters in the states with the highest populations? It would seem to be a losing proposition right from the start.

And why would a New York City real estate mogul target rural voters to be the base of his support?

Trump’s 2016 campaign WAS NEVER intended to win the election. What were the real intentions of his campaign? The first and foremost was to aid Putin in sowing discord among Americans. His reward for this would have been more money in his pocket with a Trump Tower Moscow. The second was to sew racial discord throughout the country. The Trump family has always been racist. The third was to set the stage for a new Trump television platform where he could preach to the uneducated, racist, gun-toting sycophants that would contribute money to “their” cause that would go directly into the Trump bank account. No different than his Trump University Real Estate where he promised hardworking Americans a way to get rich in the real estate game, but it was all based on a lie for which the Trump organization had to settle the case against him for $25 million.

Trump was aware of the fact in 2015 and still is today that New York had him pegged as a despicable human being and failed businessman. He was already told by every legitimate bank in the country they would not do business with them. Anyone who spent 10 minutes on the Google machine could have found this out before the election.

Trump was already aware the rest of the country was already on to him. Because of this Trump had to target the less informed rural voters. Rural education is falling farther behind by the day. In 2018 when West Virginia and Oklahoma school districts went on strike they were using textbooks that had the most recent president as Ronald Reagan!

And most rural dwellers were already ardent believers. Not of him, but of their faith. And two-thirds of Protestants live in or near poverty. Why is that important? Because they have fewer means of gathering information. And because believers of any faith are less likely to look beyond their beliefs for proof of evidence. And another big plus for Trump is that ad spend is much less in rural areas than in metropolitan areas.

All of this still was not enough for Trump. His ego is insatiable. He had to ensure his beloved followers would follow him over a cliff. And in his most malevolent manner, he preached hatred of others. It wasn’t good enough to disagree with the opposition. His voters had to hate them. They had to hate the “invading” brown hordes, the blacks, democrats, women, and upwardly mobile successful liberals.

Now in 2020, the Trump Zombieland has gone so far as to make plans to kidnap a sitting governor. The FBI caught the suspects by thorough investigative work. Trump did not praise them for their work and has shown zero sympathy towards the governor. Even if he wanted to, he could not. He cannot show “weakness” to his adoring fans.

A bully always must remain a bully in front of his disciples or his downfall will be swift.

But there is even a bigger reason Trump relies on Red states. Dumb voters.
Yes, I know I will get flack on this. So be it. How do I know this? Because they continually vote against their own best interests. Over the last three decades, the rural population of America has been shrinking, aging, and is becoming poorer.

The number one reason for this they continue to vote for Republican politicians whose only interests are to look after their mega-donors, not the voter’s interests. They do not push for better schools or healthcare facilities. Or better infrastructure to lure more businesses into a community. They vote against healthcare that covers their constituents. They vote for tax breaks that already make the rich wealthier. And still, their constituents keep voting them into office. Sorry, that is just dumb. They are susceptible to the whims of any politician who uses their religious beliefs to gain their trust that those same politicians abuse time and again.

Politics and religion should never be on a ballot. One’s religious beliefs are his own, and that is fine. It should not be in a government policy that affects others that do not share in that belief.

To quote the Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We now have a president that has shredded the Constitution. He tried to ban Muslims, a faith, like any other, that is protected in the constitution. He has constantly attacked the free press; the peaceful protests involving Black Lives Matter and has declared a war against the first amendment in every possible way.

And make no mistake about the fact that most of his Red State voters are complicit in the destruction of the Constitution they claim to hold so dear. I would go so far as to say that just like the President most of them have never read the Constitution.

Trump -Putin’s Useful Idiot

Image by Flickr

The majority of Americans shake their heads in wonder that a man with Trump’s qualifications –NONE– could have become the President of the United States.

The popular justifications are:

The electoral college (no longer needed and should be abolished0

Hillary Clinton (a horrible, but completely qualified candidate)

The News Media (we could blame them for everything bad in America)

Poor Voter Turnout (no doubt on this one as it reflects that the dumbing down of America worked)

All of these are legitimate arguments, but none are the reason America is where it is right now.

Make no mistake, the last election was rigged by Putin.

The only justification one needs to come to this conclusion is that a sitting President, in front of the entire world in Helsinki, chose to side with Putin at the expense of his own intelligence community

But there is more. Trump was surrounded by campaign aides with Russian ties. As soon as he could he fired James Comey, the head of the FBI who was leading the investigation into Russian interference. And the very next day, in the Oval Office, he laughed about it with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, calling Comey a “nut job”. He did not stop there as he continually attacks the FBI and its leadership to this day.

Now ask yourself this. How would a corrupt, conman whose every business venture ended in bankruptcy, know how to maneuver through a complex government system of checks and balances to bring it to the brink of collapse? Do you think a former KGB intelligence officer of 16 years could give a wannabe autocrat Trump and his flunkies some unhealthy directions to take control of America’s government? Do you seriously think that Trump could have won without the aid of Putin?

The world knows that Russia interfered in the election. The evidence is anywhere one chooses to look. Trump’s own lawyer was negotiating a business deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow while Trump was campaigning to be President. Six of his campaign staff have been indicted. He was running a criminal enterprise and the Republican party in the end became complicit.

Another piece of information confirming that Trump is Putin’s handmaiden is the fact Trump took no action to stop the practice of Putin putting bounties on the head of American soldiers in Afghanistan. After all, according to Trump’s own words, they are just losers.

And to this day the disinformation campaign headed by Putin has not stopped. It is in full throttle for the 2020 election. How do we know this? Trump’s own national security teams have told us so.

The question that needs to be explored is why is Putin doing this? We know Trump is in it for the money and self-gratification. That has been Trump’s modus operandi his entire life. But Putin is another matter altogether. He is smart as a whip. Every word he speaks is measured to produce his desired effect. Combine that with the fact he is pure evil, and you have the perfect comic book villain ready to rule the world.

With just a modicum of intelligence, one could conclude that Putin has the goods on Trump. He also knows how to play the man like Eric Clapton can play the guitar. So exactly what is the real motivation behind Putin’s game plan?

Power. Not just monetary or political power. He already has that. Nuclear power. Imagine what Putin would do or could do with the nuclear weapons he would control if he controlled Russia’s and the United States’ nuclear weapons programs. Trump ripped up the nuclear arms deal between the United States and Russia. Why would any President do such a thing? It could be this simple. Trump recently blurted out that America now has a “super” new nuclear weapon. Wouldn’t that be just grand in the hands of Putin? In fact, he may already have that information. We simply do not know because there is no oversight of this administration thanks to the Republican-led Senate and Trump sycophants in the White House.

The world should be very scared. Every person on the planet should be quaking in their boots. We are on the verge of the top three nuclear arms programs being controlled by autocratic leaders. Until now the United States has kept Russian and China in line. If Trump wins there is a real possibility of every nation in the world being subjects to blackmail by nuclear threat.

It should come as no surprise why so many military men have recently spoken out against Trump. They know better than anyone what the real threats are.   

Trump Doesn’t Need Death Camps — He Has COVID-19

Image for post
Auschwitz – Photo by The Guardian

Stalin and his predecessors have killed nearly 62 million people in Russia/Soviet Union. Hitler and his Nazi cronies killed 6 to 7 million in the death camps they built. A recent report puts that number around 20 million. But Trump, in his infinite callousness, simply must ignore science to reach death tolls of approximately 7–8 million people.

The sheer convenience of this should escape no one. Trump does not have to spend tax dollars building death camps, nor does he have to round up millions of Americans and have them work for slave labor. Nope, he just needs to convince enough people that “it will just go away”. What wannabe dictator would not love this scenario?

Like so many that have fallen under the spell of promises made from power-crazed politicians, we have seen 35–40% of Americans be blindly led to the edge of a cliff. They are willing to leap without a parachute into the abyss created by a false prophet.

And just like German citizens who recognized what Hitler was and stood silently by while their country was hijacked, so too are many Americans doing the same in their complacency regarding a lawless president.

Trump has simply given up pretending that he cares. Every time he speaks regarding COVID-19 he brings up herd “mentality”. Just three days ago in a town hall meeting, he once again gave no other solution to the pandemic. He is promising a vaccine will be available by the election (how convenient) when all the science says otherwise. Several scientists have stated that at best it would take until late 2021 to manufacture and distribute a vaccine to all Americans, assuming one has proven safe and effective.

Let us break down the math of herd immunity. To reach a herd immunity threshold 70% of the population would have to recover from the virus. Keep in mind that COVID-19 is a novel virus and scientists still can’t be certain that reinfection won’t occur in those that already recovered from it. Using this template approximately 245 million Americans will need to recover from COVID-19 to reach herd immunity.

The current positive test rate of the virus in the United States is 8%, far short of 70%. The current death rate is 3.3%. Taking the death rate of 3.3% and multiplying that times the 245 million needed to reach herd immunity we come to the conclusion that approximately 8 million Americans will need to die in order to achieve Trump’s solution to the virus. EIGHT MILLION!

That is more dead Americans than the Civil War, WWI, 1918 Spanish Flu, WWII, Korean, Viet Nam, and Afghanistan wars combined. This scenario does not consider the introduction of a successful vaccine that would drastically reduce this number. But because of Trump’s lies and constant reprisals of his own CDC, many Americans may simply not trust a vaccine and simply not get one.

Just who will feel the brunt of this cruel strategy? Trump supporters. Yes, the very people that support this derelict of a president will be the ones most affected. They won’t wear masks, they won’t socially distance, but they will suffer far more than those trying to keep safe. The vast majority of those making up “the herd” will be from Red states largely supporting Trump. Rather ironic, don’t you think?

The level of contempt and disregard for the lives of Americans displayed on a daily level by Trump and this White House is also a novel virus that needs to be immunized this November. VOTE.

Rural Vs Urban The Real Division in America

Why has the USA struggled more than any other country to get a grasp on COVID-19? Like any global pandemic there are certainly several reasons that lead to success or failure in treating and eliminating a deadly virus.

The first and most obvious case in America is Trump’s utter failure to create a national strategy to address this pandemic. Every country in the world that has seen success in containing COVID-19 has HAD A PLAN. A leader that wallows in chaos and destruction is incapable of planning anything other than more chaos.

Industrial Revolution

But the bigger and more problematic issue in America is the division between rural and urban Americans. This division has grown exponentially since Trump has run for office. But it is not new to America. This division has been seeping into the American mindset for over 100 years. The industrial revolution in the early 1900s led to a boon for metropolitan areas while rural America began to lose its identity. There was a massive population movement that saw millions of Americans leave their rural roots for more opportunities that were being made available daily in the rapidly growing urban communities.

Ten years ago, I retired and moved from the Chicago area to a small retirement community in Arkansas. Half of the population (12,000) is over 50 years of age. It is a beautiful area and people tend to be very friendly. Many are like me and retired here from other parts of the country. But what I have observed through my time here is most of those who have retired here are from other rural areas. They were looking for a similar rural vibe with better weather and lower taxes. This contrasts with the many retirees from metro areas that tend to move to warmer metro areas.

The division between rural and urban Americans is becoming more evident every day. Urban citizens tend to rely on each other more. Many rely on public transportation. Their workplace environments most often require interdependence with others to do their jobs effectively. This naturally leads to better team-building skills and better communication skills. Urban dwellers also are more likely to have advanced education, whether it be scholastically or trade school environments.

Rural inhabitants are nearly the exact opposite of their urban brothers and sisters. What I found most shocking to me when I moved here was how many people were obsessed with owning land. Not necessarily a home, just land. Now some do earn their living off the land and that certainly makes sense. But many own acres of land just because. They do nothing with it, have no plan to develop it, do little to care for it. I have concluded that it is just a shelter for them. To separate themselves from neighbors. There is no question that the average rural occupant has a more “don’t bother me, leave me alone, stay off my property” attitude than their urban cousins.

And herein lies the real danger from the rural and urban divisions in a pandemic. Everyday city dwellers rely on those around them to perform their daily functions. Because of this reliance, they understand that each of them needs to do their part if they are going to be successful in defeating COVID-19 and see a return to normal life. They are also far more likely to know someone who has died from it.

On the other hand, the more typical attitude of rural folks is one skepticism, indifference, and defiance. So many simply do not care if they are exposed or expose others. It’s just a hoax. This blew my mind and I have been here for 10 years! They talk about freedom as if it is something they inherited, like blue eyes or red hair from Gramma. “I’m an American and I can do whatever I want.” Yeah, try not paying your taxes and see how well that works out. I really am shocked at how indifferent they are towards so many Americans dying. I guess this shouldn’t surprise me since most of them I have met believes that Trump can walk on water.

I do have some hope as most of the younger people I have met here are more inquisitive and more likely to get their information from a variety of sources. Sadly, those fortunate enough to go away to college will be less likely to return to their rural home to make a life. Once exposed to a variety of people and knowledge at a university their world view changes significantly.

Do I hold out any hope that these divisions can be healed? No, I do not. Rural communities by their very nature are isolated. Most have little to no industry, high-speed internet, or access to Interstate highways. The only hope for rural America to have a chance of surviving would be a massive infrastructure bill to come out of Washington. And we all know that won’t happen.

America will continue to spiral down the rabbit hole that COVID-19 and Trump’s response to it has created. Rural communities will choose their “freedom” over the health of the nation. I was hoping that I could inject some humorous quip into this article at some point. I just can’t find a single thing humorous about this massive and apparently hopeless division in America.

Imagine If You Would

Imagine if you would. You were born into a very wealthy family. You have never known a hard day in your life. You learned very well the lessons your father taught you, greed, hate, the love of power. You learned them so well you went to see a movie instead of going to your brother’s funeral.

You spent your life in pursuit of money and fame no matter the cost to obtain them. You put hundreds of small business owners out of business so you could pocket a few thousand dollars more. Your love of money is only trumped by your need for adoration. You’ve created a life without friends, just associates who share your avarice towards anyone unlike them. You let nothing stand in your way of achieving the destruction of those that interfere with your lust for riches and power.

Can you put yourself there? REALLY, REALLY TRY. Is this the life you cherish? The one you’ve always dreamed of? Would you be happy with such a life? Would you want such a person as a friend or mentor? Would you vote for a person like this to ascend to the most powerful position in the world?

Think about it. Think of what you could do if you were just like that and had control of the most powerful government in the world. Nothing would stop you from destroying all your supposed enemies and “cutting deals” to enrich yourself beyond your wildest imaginations. The wreckage you would leave behind would be like a speck of dust to you because you would force the downtrodden to bow down to your almightiness. Doesn’t that make you lick your chops just thinking that could be you?

Trump’s Ivory Tower

Isn’t this the most wonderful life you could imagine? Being adored by the downtrodden, concerned every minute of the day where your next dollar is coming from as you sit isolated in your ivory tower surrounded by portraits of yourself? Making devious plans to slander anyone with enough gumption to expose your heart of callosity? What could be better than that? Doesn’t that sound like anyone’s dream come true? Who in their right minds would not love such a life?

Love and companionship are so overrated. So is the feeling of accomplishment after a hard day’s work. And who really likes helping a friend or neighbor in need. We all know that is just another burden to bear. And really, who wants to drive their own car when you can be chauffeured everywhere? How boring would that be?

I am sure I have gotten my point across by now. We would all love to have a life of money and fame at the expense of all else. Right?

Democracy The American Illusion

No one is welcome in America anymore. No one wants to come to America anymore.

Democracy has become an American illusion under the auspices of President Trump. Americans have watched with rose-colored glasses as Trump has systematically dismantled their cherished democracy. Gone are the days when Americans took to the streets to defend their cherished Bill of Rights. Now, today as you read this, Americans have decided that instead of fighting for their holy Constitution they would rather spend their time on Facebook and Twitter. As if that would somehow sway a dictator in waiting who has caged children, or attacked every American no matter their race, religion, or political affiliation that does not bow before the lord and master. One who has put Gestapo like troops into the cities of America.

Democracy is messy. I was fortunate to see that mess in action as a young American man in the late 60s and early 70s when I marched in Viet Nam protests. The youth of that time were far more aware politically and historically. It was not just the war we were protesting. It was the government’s actions to send our young to die in a war only fought to protect American mining interest. I am still so proud to have lived in a time when the youth, black and white, fought for what is spelled out in the Constitution.

Today, America’s youth seems far more content to let their country collapse in the sinkhole that is Trump’s Washington. From the first day in office, he began to dismantle the government by replacing non-partisan diplomats that had decades of experience with loyal lackeys that only care about pleasing the king while enriching themselves in the process. This led to his takeover of the Justice Department and State Department. The capable men and women that were not let go quit after trying their best to keep things afloat. Their moral character would not allow them to participate in the destruction of what they had fought and worked for most of their adult lives.

And like any good authoritarian Trump has used the apathy Americans have displayed to put a stranglehold on what was once the “shining city on the hill’. No one is welcome in America anymore. No one wants to come to America anymore. Many Americans’ with the means to do so are retiring out of the country. The world looks in horror at the destruction of America. They simply cannot fathom why the American people are not surrounding the Capitol every day demanding Trump’s removal. The answer is relatively simple. And no, it is not the fact that Americans never had to stand up and fight for their democracy like most of the global democratic countries, although that is certainly part of the equation. It is simply this, the rich and powerful have become far richer and more powerful under Trump’s guidance.

There are exceptions. There are people in government and in corporate management that still fight for the civil rights of Americans. Day by day their numbers are dwindling, and their efforts are being attacked or stifled at every turn by the autocratic machine now running the government.

Black Lives Matter Protest

Most Americans have shuttered the portions of their brains that are screaming at them 24 hours a day to wake up. They stutter as if sleepwalking while being quite content in their nonchalance. If not for the Black Lives Matter movement one would think the whole country’s water supply was being drugged with sedatives.

The atrocious handling of the COVID-19 crises by Trump is unquestionably intentional to anyone willing to look past their nose. It was a godsend for Trump. It was a perfect distraction to hide all the machinations he has done behind the scenes to gut the government of the dedicated, professional employees, only to replace them with his cronies willing to do anything to defend his defenseless actions. These attacks came at the expense of the departments that were the bedrock of American democracy, until Trump. The independent Justice Department that is the first line of defense from autocrats. The National Security organizations that protect the country from outside influences. The FBI, the leading law enforcement team. The United States Postal Service signed into law by George Washington. As an American, I can firmly state that no government organization has operated more efficiently than the Post Office. Trump went to work immediately on all these institutions. Institutions created to keep the country’s democracy safe. Are you beginning to see the picture now?

If Trump is still in office at the time of the election, he will tie up the results in court while at the same to securing his wall of defense around the White House. His and his buddy Putin’s propaganda machine will be raging on Twitter and Facebook 24/7 and he will be encouraging his rabid followers to arm themselves and take to the streets. For those who lack historical context we have seen this movie before, and it is about to play out in the streets of the United States. The ending is never pleasant and always leads to authoritarianism.

This is your future Americans. This is what will happen if you fail to grow a conscience and march in the millions to Washington D.C. The only way to get your country back is to frighten the rich and powerful and make them understand that without you they have nothing. If you believe you have too much to lose by doing so, consider how much you may lose by not doing so. Just your country. No big deal, right?

Racism Is Still Haunting America

For over two centuries America has been proud to be the “land of the free.” The world looked upon America as the beacon of light. With one glaring exception. The ever prominent and glaring failings of how it dealt with racism. This is true to this day as racism is still haunting America.

During the 1800s there was a global consciousness weaving a path that led to many countries first abolishing slave trading, then to the emancipation of slaves. It was not until 1926 that the League of Nations adopted the Slavery Convention abolishing all slavery. Eventually, in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes an article stating, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Just what makes America unique among nations that propagated slavery? The most glaring event was the Civil War. No other country in the world considered warring against itself to defend slavery. Since the Civil War, the South has been adamant that the war was fought over state’s rights. This is simply not true. Without slavery the economy of the Southern states would have collapsed. And it did exactly that after the war. Had these states not received war reparations they likely would never have recovered.

But the Civil War was not alone in shaming the United States. All its Founding Fathers except for John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine were slave owners. It seems that creating a government based on “all men are created equal” was hypocritical to the nth degree. The cry for liberty did not include the hundreds of thousands in bondage. To be fair the British Crown was delighted to reap the benefits of slavery as well at the time and did not abolish slavery until 1807. While they officially abolished it to ease their guilt the practice still thrived. The economies of both the colonies and the crown were heavily dependent on the by-products of slavery. Slavery was alive and well in England and the newly formed American states which went on to be a benefit for both countries after the Revolutionary War.

America finally abolished slavery when the 13th amendment to the Constitution was ratified on December 6, 1865, eight months after President Lincoln’s assassination and the end of the Civil War. Though legal ownership and servitude ended, the freed slaves mostly remained as underpaid and still abused workers on the plantations. The amendment did abolish chattel slavery throughout the United States. That did not stop the use of other factors such as Black Codes, white supremacist violence, and selective enforcement of statutes that continued to subject many black Americans to involuntary labor, especially in the South.

The Black Codes were established in the South during the first two years after the Civil War. This fact alone should put to rest that the South did fight the Civil War over slavery. These codes were virtually the same as the slave codes. They were intended to limit the freedman from movement, thus making every effort to have political dominance while suppressing their newly gained freedoms. Found within these codes was the vagrancy law. This broad law allowed local authorities to arrest freed people for any minor infraction. This permitted them to be committed to involuntary labor. This in turn led to the convict lease system, which was just another name for slavery. I could go on for pages as to the efforts the South made to ensure that slavery was not dead, just renamed. Through Jim Crow and the Klu Klux Klan the South made a supreme effort to keep the status quo.

The post-Civil War years saw a flood of States passing laws inhibiting blacks. Though they were no longer “owned”, they were hardly free to pursue the American dream. Most historians point to these laws as being suppressive. They were intended to be just that. But what is not explored enough is the why.

Why were so many laws created to separate the white and black communities? This is seldom explored. It is my belief that fear was the driving factor. Fear of “others.” For all the dominance achieved by the white race in North America, they displayed a vast amount of insecurities. Economic issues certainly must enter the equation. In one fell swoop, many landowners lost their free source of labor. As important as that was, it was not as big a blow like the one that hit their egos. They simply could not fathom a world where black men could be their equals under the law. These feelings are still all too prevalent throughout the South today.

The black race in America has been persecuted systematically in one form or another since before the “first” slave ship arrived in Jamestown in 1619. The Spanish had brought African slaves into Florida as early as 1526. The plight of blacks in America has been one of suppression for centuries.

Events during the 20th century created more opportunities for blacks in America and provided more situations that forced the white community to observe blacks in a different light. The first major event was WWI when more than 350,000 blacks served admirably. Though most were segregated and performed menial tasks there were thousands that saw the battlefield. There is nothing like war conditions to create a bond of companionship. White men came home having shared a foxhole with a black man. Both relying on each other to make it through the day alive.

Then came the Great Depression when people of every race stood in breadlines. It was a humbling experience for whites to find themselves poor and destitute. The blacks spent most of their lives poor and destitute. They adapted to the situation easier than the white population. FDR’s New Deal was a boon for blacks. Ten percent of funds for the Work Progress Administration went to the black community, which was equal to ten percent of the population that was black. In June of 1941, he also issued Executive Order 8802, which created the Fair Employment Practice Committee. It was the most important federal move in support of the rights of Black Americans between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Next up was World War II. This was a real eye-opener for the black men in America. Once again, they were segregated and for the most part, left to menial tasks. Civil rights activists pushed the government for integration, but the military was largely led by Southern commanders that got their way and the blacks once again were under the influence of Jim Crow. The major lesson that the blacks serving in the war and after the war in Europe was the recognition and acceptance they received from the German people. The Germans did not see their skin color; they saw the uniform of the nation that helped free their country from the Nazis. Many of these soldiers would have preferred to stay in Germany rather than come home to the racism they would face returning to America. Upon returning these men became the next generation of civil rights leaders the likes of which Martin Luther King Jr. had the privilege of their wisdom.

Black Platoon In World War II

Few people in the history of the planet made as much of an impact as Martin Luther King Jr. His unwavering dedication to God, justice for all, and peaceful demonstration changed America forever. His place in history is forever cemented as one of the great leaders and orators of all time. His power of persuasion was nearly as great as his power to compel those in opposition to see his point of view. Like so many great leaders, men of all persuasions flocked to his side and fought for equal justice for the black community. I was fifteen years old in 1968 when MLK and Bobbie Kennedy were assassinated. The death of these two men and the fiasco that was Viet Nam made for what was truly a horrible time in America and made an indelible mark in my life and in the nation.

On the backs of giants, the black community is making strides. Sadly, they are all fought for by tooth and nail. They are slowly gaining more seats in Congress, and saw Barack Obama, the first black president elected. The Black Lives Matter movement is now gaining support throughout the country from the white community as more horrific events of racial injustices are being exposed. It has been a long and arduous journey for black people in America. The fight continues but racism is still haunting America.

Democracy Is On The Verge Of Extinction

Most citizens of earth have never heard of Freedom House. They are a wonderful and necessary watchdog for all freedom lovers. Their organization has been around since 1941. Over the last 14 years, they found that political freedoms and civil liberties across the world are in decline more often than they are improving. Its opening statement in the 2020 report by Sarah Repucci stated, “Democracy and pluralism are under assault. Dictators are toiling to stamp out the last vestiges of domestic dissent and spread their harmful influence to new corners of the world.”

As the world stutters in disbelief by how Americans are allowing Trump to obliterate democracy in the United States, many other countries are also seeing the same attack on their democratic governments. This is the history of democracies. They all fail. When those in office learn that they can enrich themselves at the expense of the citizens their greed and lust for power becomes the driving factors over concerns for their constituents.

This was on full display not long ago historically speaking. Democracy nearly died on a global level in the 1920s and 1930s. The world experienced a short burst of democratic governments after WWI when the several new nations were birthed from the peace agreement. At the time there was a subdued euphoria that as more democracies formed throughout the globe the world would become less tyrannical. But this was noticeably short lived indeed. Albania, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, and Yugoslavia all had short lived democracies.

This also affected more established democracies in Europe that were suffering mightily from the effects of the WWI. It took just a matter of months for Mussolini to take over Italy in 1922. By 1930 there was a global discussion that society as whole may break down and cease to function. In 1932 Mussolini was quoted as saying “The liberal state is destined to perish”. And it was. By 1933 Hitler rose to power. Authoritarian regimes took over Portugal, Spain, and Uruguay. Democracies cratered in Greece, Estonia, Latvia, and Romania.  

Mussolini Captures Rome

It was not all peaches and cream in America. American democracy was brought to its knees from corruption, inequality, racial injustice, indifference, corporate monopolies, massive unemployment, and a starving population.  Fascism and Communism were growing in America. Blacks were questioning democracy. Rightfully so since they had no role in it since the founding of the country. Make no mistake, American democracy was on the brink of extinction.

The same year Hitler took power FDR gave his first inaugural address when he stated, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. America needed to hear that as fears were rampant throughout the country. Most newspapers and radio broadcasts were questioning if “it could happen here”. Business leaders were skeptical of the New Deal as they saw it as a means to check their cozy deals they built through past administrations, attacking it as unconstitutional. The black and brown communities felt again left out, at best.

Does this look familiar? America is in the throes of this right now. Massive employment, an economy just a hairs breath away from collapse, a Republican party so inept it cannot even settle anything within its own factions, and company owners of Facebook and Amazon profiting billions during all of it. Just as I write this article news came out that the United States just had the worse quarter ever in its economy, seeing a 32.9% drop in GDP. After all the years that passed, America still has racial injustice. And Trump is following Hitler’s playbook as if he wrote it himself by stoking fear and unrest throughout the country by targeting “others”, using federal agents (just like Hitler’s SS) to stoke aggression in American cities, and caging children. In modern history only two countries have caged children, Hitler’s Germany, and Trump’s America.

From his first day in office Trump has made nice with the autocrats of the world while dismissing and denigrating our democratic allies. In an international television broadcast, he sold out his own intelligence community to make Vladimir Putin look good. He nearly took down NATO. And throughout all this the Republican party has been complicit. Their only interest in the last 30 years has been to profit from their positions in office by delivering drastic tax cuts that largely benefitted their rich donors. History will not look favorably upon them.

And now the world is faced with the worse pandemic in 100 years. It has put a strain on every country no matter politics. Just this week the United States death toll passed the death toll of the 19-year Vietnam War. And it only took six months! Trump has led America to the #1 standing in the world. How many Americans do you think are proud of that?

Trump is doing everything in his power to abolish democracy. I believe his poor response to the pandemic is intentional, hoping it affects the election. His utter contempt for the people of his country is on full display. His policy regarding the Post Office is slowing mail delivery, thus hoping to hamper the voter count in November. Americans need to see what’s right in front of their eyes. And they need to wake up before Kris Kristofferson’s lyrics “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” that Janis Joplin made so famous becomes our reality.

Rural America Is Not In Decline

Rural America is not in decline. It is already dead. For years now there have been countless articles from multiple sources contemplating the dire situation of rural America. The typical questions raised were, can rural America rebound, can rural America recover, will rural America ever return to its glory days, why don’t rural Americans relocate?

All good questions. All bad answers. Let us face facts, none of which rural communities across the country want to hear. It is too late. Yes, too late for rural communities to return to their heyday. For a quarter of a century the state of rural America has been experiencing a shrinking and aging population, less productivity, incomes on the decline, growing drug use and rising crime rates. To make matters even worse the trade policies of Trump’s administration has devastated farmers across the country, many selling out to the corporate giants.

Rural America, for all the reasons previously mentioned, is also bleeding their best and brightest. Students fortunate enough to go to college rarely return to their hometowns. While at university they were exposed to a new world. One that included people that did not look like them, that shared experiences they never dreamed of, and opportunities they never knew existed.

Most rural Americans will look to find blame for all of this elsewhere. But it is the rural mindset that is the major reason for the death of rural America. The vast majority want their neighbors to look like them, think like them, share their faith and politics and are less than inviting to those that do not. In other words, they are set in their ways. The problem they face is that the world around them is growing in ways they refuse to adapt to. What business would want a workforce that is less educated and less likely to adapt to the modern and ever-changing technologies and socioeconomic diversity in today’s business world? Very few, unless they want to take advantage of the lower wages they will pay in rural communities.

The last time rural counties experienced a significant economic growth rate was in the early to mid-1990s. Since then all those gains have been decimated. In an article penned by the New York Times in 2018, the author made a striking observation still relevant today. “No one – not experts or policymakers or people in these communities – knows quite how to pick rural America up.” Two years later it is safe to say rural America is dead.

Rural Americans are not doomed to the same fate. They have a choice. They can stay and try to eke out a meager living where job opportunities are shrinking, healthcare facilities are limited, and hope for a brighter future for themselves and their children is just that, hope. Or they relocate. They take that scary step to build a better life for their families outside their comfort zones. For decades now a large percentage of economic growth has been achieved in the metropolitan areas of the United States. This should be no surprise as these areas have greater tools at their disposal. High-speed internet, greater educational opportunities, union trade schools, superior infrastructure. Everything that businesses use to their advantage.

I retired from Chicago to a small rural community of 12,000 in the Ozarks ten years ago. I like the area. It is beautiful and the winters are mild compared to Chicago. But, to make a point about the aging of rural America over 50% of the population is over 50 years old. I have seen small businesses come and go with a surprisingly rapid rate. I also see a level of mediocrity within the business community. They can settle for being “okay” because there is not a high level of competition. The vast majority of those doing business in this rural town would not last a month in Chicago. I only mention this to drive home the fact this is just one more example of why rural America is dead. It is not meant to disparage those working hard to keep their businesses afloat.

Like the businesses they patronize rural Americans are settling for mediocrity. They make excuses as to why it is so great to live where they live. I have heard them all. Less traffic, less crime, more freedom, blah, blah, blah. Let’s break this down. No doubt there is less traffic. It is because there is nowhere to go and far fewer people going there. There is less crime, but not necessarily per capita and this will be especially true as poverty continues to grow in rural America. And more freedom? Really? Freedom to do what exactly? Work for poverty-level wages even if you can get a job? Freedom to fly the flag or own a gun? You can do that anywhere.

Now, to be honest, as an old retired guy, I am grateful for the ease of which I can get around. It takes me ten minutes tops to get anywhere I need to go. And that is why rural America is aging. More retired folks are relocating to areas like the one I live in for a less hectic life where taxes and real estate are less costly.

I and others in my position have several advantages over most rural Americans. We came from areas where decades of high wage earnings and in many cases pensions that allowed for comfortable retirements. We do not work for low wages unless we choose to just to keep busy. We have the freedom to travel when we choose. We are not bound by our surroundings.

Because of my rural experience I have come to understand that for most younger rural folks making a move to “the big city” can be a daunting task. That is largely due to a mindset that is reflecting on what they would miss if they moved.

What they fail to focus on is what they can gain. The opportunity to have more fulfilling careers, a chance for greater educational opportunities, better schools for their children, a growing social environment with world-class museums, theaters, sporting events, travel options, and more.

The emergence of COVID-19 will exacerbate the problems rural America will now face. Cash strapped states (more likely to be rural ones) will need to allocate their tax dollars where it will benefit the most people. That will be in their metropolitan regions. Any infrastructure projects in rural communities could very likely be put on hold or abandoned altogether. Rural school districts that receive state aid could find themselves in dire straits. In any case, the COVID economy will most certainly hurt small-town America harder.

Sadly, most rural inhabitants will never experience all the advantages a metropolitan life offers. They simply don’t know what they don’t know. I fear that soon they will have little choice as rural America is dead. It won’t be long before America will have more ghost towns to visit.