You see that statue on the hill over Hong Kong? Pro-Democracy protestors erected it there this past weekend. The image is a woman with a gas mask that the protestors have nicknamed "Lady Liberty." It took a team of over a dozen climbers to lug it to the edge of the peak overlooking the city. It is a symbol of freedom, freedom that we, as Americans, don't seem interested in defending, even in an emblematic way.
It's not fair, but we're going to pick on LeBron James as the symbol of the American NBA Player/Businessman anyway. We are not randomly picking on LeBron, coincidentally, just days before the statue went up, LeBron and the rest of the L.A. Lakers were in China promoting their NBA product. There are a number of issues facing China today, Social Activist LeBron could have held up a small flag in support of Hong Kong, or he could have simply held up a piece of paper that said: Google Uyghur. He did neither. The NBA closed down all media availability and LeBron (at least in China) "shut up and dribbled."
Because in America, this is the Mantra of Rich Americans: I AM FOR FREEDOM! (As long as it doesn't conflict with my business interests.) Don't tell me that LeBron's hands were tied. The South Park guys (Matt Parker and Trey Stone) took a stand and criticized China and they paid the price. Their show was WIPED FROM THE CHINESE INTERNET. Arguably, their criticisms could potentially cost the South Park creators millions, but they already have piles of money, China doesn't pay them, Comedy Central does. The NBA pays LeBron, and he has piles of money, but he decided his business interests trumped his role as NBA's Most Important Social Activist.
Of course White LeBron James, a.k.a Donald Trump, was quick to point out the hypocrisies of NBA players and coaches. But as Trump goaded the NBA for their China stance, traditional Middle Eastern allies, the Kurds, had been inexplicably abandoned by Trump because he doesn't understand what or where Kurdistan is. I believe that part of Trump's philosophy for hanging the Kurds out to dry is because he has no business interests in Northern Syria or Northern Iraq. It's really that simple. Instead of standing for freedom, Trump is kowtowing to Turkey for....
I really don't know why.
Okay, let me spin you in a different direction. Earlier this week, George W. Bush and Ellen DeGeneres shared a luxury box at a Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers game. The internet absolutely lit up with opinions from all angles, but I never saw this take. Say my team, the Cleveland Browns, was playing the Dallas Cowboys. If somehow I was able to get to Texas and take in a game with my friend at Liquid Radio, would we be sitting in the $25,000 a game suite next to Ellen and George?
The rich in America move in different circles than the rest of us. Their rationale for doing things is different from the rest of us. They may tell you and me one thing, but the goals of the rich and powerful in America is to simply stay rich and powerful. Abstract ideas such as freedom are often fought for by those who's sole purpose isn't to stay rich and powerful. You know who ultimately fights for freedom? Soldiers.
Has LeBron's Social Activism kept him from making a HALF A BILLION dollars in his life? No.
Has Donald Trump's Politics kept him from making 3 BILLION dollars in his life? No.
Has Ellen's Sexuality kept her from making a HALF A BILLION dollars in her life? No.
Has George W. Bush's Politics kept him from making 20 MILLION dollars (really, that's it?) No.
When LeBron James tells you the problem with America is Donald Trump, he is playing the race card. (That problem? Old White Men.) When Donald Trump tells you the problem with America is LeBron James, he, too, is playing the race card. (That problem? Spoiled Minority Athletes.) LeBron James, for example, doing anything to highlight the plight of the people in Hong Kong doesn't fit into his overarching philosophy that America is racist. A philosophy which may or may not be true, but helps him move lots of merchandise to disenfranchised minorities.
Go ahead and guess why they both want to play the race card.
Hint: Because they want you to hate other races so you don't hate the rich.
I'm not saying we should go to war for either a Free Hong Kong or a Free Kurdistan. In order to achieve either one, you're going to have to spill a lot of American Soldier's Blood. What am I trying to say then? There are people in Hong Kong who ARE willing to give their lives for freedom and there are people in Northern Syria who ARE willing to give their lives for freedom.
America's goal should be to be an example for freedom loving peoples across the globe, but we can't be everywhere at once. Today, from our own President to our most popular athletes, the world doesn't see America as a shining beacon, but as a giant, greedy Corporation.
If you are yelling that Donald Trump is the President and LeBron is just a basketball player, you're missing the point. Donald Trump certainly isn't trying to sell poor black kids $200 pairs of sneakers. If you are like CNN and your face is bright red and puffy as you scream "BUT TRUMP IS A TERRIBLE PRESIDENT....."
He is. What more do you want me to say?
Trump didn't work his way up from councilman, to mayor, to governor to president. Every step of his career in the private sector, he paid for access to government officials. He basically bought the 2016 election by putting himself in a position to run against some very unpopular politicians. He cut out the middleman to get what he wanted in his business dealings. Make America Great Again has worked out awesome for the shareholders in the business community.
For the rest of us? Meh. From the start, Beacon of Speech warned you not to vote for Donald Trump.
Then why don't I bash on Donald Trump all day and all night? Because everyone else does it for me. Let's say I wrote an article a day on how terrible Donald Trump was. I'm only one person, Beacon of Speech would suffer because I wouldn't have time to write about anything else. CNN has 6 to 10 articles a day saying the same thing about Trump from a fleet of writers. You like Trump? All of a sudden you're not on the CNN payroll anymore because it's not about independent thinking, but advancing a narrative. A corporate media conglomerate whining that the country is being run...well, like a corporate media conglomerate.
Again Donald Trump didn't beat some saint to become the President. The difference between Trump and H. Clinton is that at the first hint of trouble, Clinton would go jingoistic and invade Honduras or something to distract you from her bad behavior. Trump clumsily withdrawing from Syria is more baffling than a plotted political move.
When the Clintons left office, they claimed that they were broke. Today they are worth a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS. Now go ahead and add up their government salaries over their lifetimes. Hmmm. Somehow you're still about $200 million short. A Clinton Presidency would have been terrible also, just in a very different way. The CNNs of the broadcast world would be selling sunshine and roses and would be telling you how the people of Honduras deserved it and the FoxNews-type sites would have you convinced that the apocalypse was afoot. Because everyone is selling you something in a large corporation.
But we've exposed all this partisan crap before. Today...
Today, America needs to get its house in order.
I am flummoxed and wished there was a non-partisan voice that summed up what is going on in America better than I could.
Unfortunately, nearly everyone hates that voice because of the 2000 presidential election.
By Ralph Nader
October 3, 2019
There has never been more access to food – domestic and imported – yet hunger is an ongoing problem everywhere. In the U.S. alone, 16.5 million children go to bed hungry and 20% of community college students are experiencing “food insecurity.”
Never have there been more communications technologies, yet it is harder to get through to people personally than fifty years ago.
Never have people been able to use their right to free speech so unencumbered, yet a torrent of lies are now spread so freely and are often unchallenged.
Never have there been higher corporate profits, yet staggering amounts of poverty and near poverty remain along with stagnant wages.
Never have there been more medicines to alleviate pain, yet far too many of these pain killers have caused massive fatalities and addictions.
Never has there been more liquid corporate capital piled up, yet corporate investment is proportionately lower than before. Instead, CEO’s have burned over 7 trillion dollars in unproductive stock buybacks in the past decade.
Never have there been more exercise outlets, exercise machines and apps, yet obesity is still rampant.
Never have there been more tax breaks for big businesses, yet big businesses use so little of the windfalls for productive investments, good jobs and shoring up pensions.
Never has there been more free access to information, yet so little retained knowledge.
Never have there been more impressive muckraking film documentaries and books that expose corporate and government crimes, yet this media attention produces less impact and reform.
Never have there been more ongoing impeachable offenses and statutory violations by a president, yet the opposing Party in Congress have been reluctant to move on the many articles of impeachment. Remember how fast the unified House of Republicans moved to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice?
Never have there been more trainers, sports physicians, protective equipment and guards for professional athletes, yet there are far more injuries and days lost by players than was the case sixty years ago. Now there are helmets, gloves, pads, cushioned walls, better shoes etc. Why?
Never has there been more to read, yet there are so few readers reading. Historically, we have gone from illiteracy to literacy to aliteracy!
Never before has technology made it so easy for heads of government to meet, yet fewer international treaties are made. (Eg. Cyber, water, environment, consumer, labor etc.)
Never has there been such an outrageous corporate crime wave, yet law enforcement budgets have decreased! The more big CEO’s are paid, the worse is their management. (Eg. The big banks twelve years ago, General Electric for years.)
Never before have there been so many wrongful injuries, yet the court budgets are becoming tighter and the law of torts is being restricted. Without the defense of and use of our civil justice system, wrongful injury cases cannot go to court with a trial by jury.
Never before has there been more corporate fraud, yet agencies tasked with bringing this fraud to justice have smaller budgets and more limitations. The budget of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a third of one day’s worth of health care billing fraud, which is estimated this year to be $350 billion, according to Harvard’s national expert on the subject, Professor Malcolm Sparrow. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been straitjacketed by the evil corporate crime abettor Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House Chief of Staff for corrupt Donald.
Never has the drug industry accumulated more profits and government subsidies, yet so many patients cannot begin to afford lifesaving medicines.
Never have the under-taxed super-rich been so rich, yet on average give a smaller proportion of their money to “good works.” Actually, middle and lower income people give more proportionally than do the ultra-wealthy.