In less than three weeks, President-Elect Trump will be sworn into office, on January 20, 2017. Billionaires used to be content by controlling power from behind the scenes, but not anymore. Billionaires have effectively overthrown the U.S. Government.
According to Title 3 of the US Code, the US President "shall earn" a salary of $400,000, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. In a tweet, Trump stated, "I won't take even one dollar. I'm totally giving up my salary if I become president," but later stated on "60 Minutes" that he would take a $1 salary because the law required him to.
Billionaires earn a tremendous amount money, some as much as $37 million dollars per day. So why does a billionaire who has a history and reputation for looking out for only himself suddenly decide to spend $66 million of his own money and give up his huge earning potential to become president?
Trump hasn't even donated to his own foundation since 2008, which is currently under multiple investigations.
Common sense requires you to consider a profit motive especially considering the President-Elect is also the author of "The Art of the Deal". As President, Trump gains incredible bargaining power with bankers, governments, and others. Trump has an estimated billion dollar debt including $300 million with Deutsche Bank which he recently renegotiated. Deutsche is currently under investigation by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office over stock trades for Russian customers. As President, Trump will choose the next Attorney General, Trump would then be the the Attorney General's boss, a significant bargaining chip.
Defense Contractors – The Military Industrial Complex
In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower tried to warn the American public during his farewell speech to beware of the military-industrial complex. The "War Dogs" clip on our "War is a Racket" page mentions, "war is an economy; anybody who tells you otherwise is either in on or stupid". If profits are your motivation, there is not a greater engine for profits than war.
War disproportionate affects poor and minority populations. People with limited opportunities are drawn to the military more than any other segment of society. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed a chilling sentiment about war that could just as easy be expressed today; see the clip below from the documentary, "War Made Easy".
I have two draft-age sons. When Trump makes incendiary statements toward other nations, I am naturally concerned about future ramifications for my sons. Trump had a stellar education which included: The Kew-Forest School, New York Military Academy, Fordham University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, so I have no reason to believe he doesn't understand that his statements have consequences. If he understands, those consequences are part of his stategy or end game.
Trump may be the sort of billionaire mentioned in chapter 2 of "None Dare Call it Conspiracy". Trump may even have a king complex, any chess player knows that all the other pieces on the board ultimate sacrifice themselves in defense of the king. I am not interested in my son's or the sons and daughters of others, being used as pawns to increase someone else's profits.
Trump has mentioned expanding the United States nuclear capacity. From a profit standpoint, nothing comes close to nuclear armaments.
One-third of the Energy Department’s budget is allocated to nuclear weapons. The United States spends an average of $20 billion per year on its nuclear arsenal. The U.S. hasn't built a new warhead since 1990, however, many of the existing warheads are being refurbished at a cost of $2 – $20 million each depending on the type. Recently, the Pentagon said it needs $200 billion dollars to modernize it's U.S. nuclear weapons.
Imagine a scenario where the United States spends hundreds of billions, maybe even trillions to build up our nuclear capacity then later sign another non-proliferation agreement where we spend billions more decommissioning many of those weapons. Can you imagine a more profitable situation? There is no profit if nukes are used, but building and then destroying nukes – very profitable.
Trump once made the following statement about Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi: "I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn't let him use the land," Trump boasted. "That's what we should be doing. I don't want to use the word 'screwed', but I screwed him."
Now imagine a defense contractor that made hundreds of billions in profits during Trump's tenure paying billions of dollars for real estate owned by Trump years from now. See the Huffington's Post "10 Well-Kept Secrets That All Billionaires Know".
Independent journalist using cell phones equipped with a camera and video capability have transformed how people get information. Social media brought attention to incidents that major media probably may not have even noticed on its own. The killings of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, and others may have gone unnoticed if not but for cell phones and social media.
Major media is controlled by members of the billionaire's boys club and those billionaires have lost some media influence and they want it back. Calling into question the reporting of independent journalists by labeling their product as "fake news" is an attempt to regain total control of the narrative.
Denzel Washington recently responded to a question concerning "fake news" by quoting Mark Twain, “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”
As we mentioned in our recent corporation post, there are five corporations that control most major media outlets. Major media originally questioned whether President Elect Trump and Russian President Putin were friends. Then the narrative changed and suddenly there is talk of sanctions and retaliation against Russia.
There is a long tradition of "fake news" from the mainstream media. Since the revolutionary war, the government has used propaganda, censored information and news under the guise of national security. The Declaration of Independence contained a compelling piece of propaganda, “All men are created equal,” which conveniently ignored slaves.
The Committee on Public Information was established during the first World War. During World War II there was an official office of censorship that the CIA reports even reprimanded the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
After Pearl Harbor, Americans had a strong sense of why the U.S. had entered the war, but by 1942, a poll showed 30% of the population had doubts. The Office of War Information began a propaganda campaign of "presenting the war in simple terms of good versus evil".
The top 50 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas contain more than a million people each, the next 50 largest contain at least half a million each and there are an additional 250 areas with at least 100,000 people. However, turn on the evening news and the same few stories are being reported by all the major networks. You would think that a country with 50 states and a population of more than 345 million people would have a number of diverse and interesting stories every day.
The real fake news story is major networks ignoring major stories that independent journalist seem to have no problem finding and reporting to same news as all the other networks. There are fake news stories in both mainstream and independent media. Use common sense and critical thinking to determine for yourself what is relevant and what is true.
Nothing would make me happier than for Trump to end up becoming a great president and for some of my assumptions and opinions to be wrong. I won't, however, hold my breath while we wait to find out.
The full 2007 documentary that attempted to show the parallels between the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq and expose how the American government used the media as a propaganda tool.