Are you ready for the most anticipated presidential debate in decades? It is being projected that Monday’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could potentially break the all-time record of 80 million viewers that watched Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter debate back in 1980. Many Americans probably hope to see some personal fireworks between the two nominees, but the two candidates have both expressed a desire to focus on substantive issues. There will likely be quite a few questions about the economy, and without a doubt this is an area where Trump and Clinton have some very sharp differences. The mainstream media would have us believe that the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape, and if that was true that would seem to favor Clinton. But is it actually true? The following are 26 incredible facts about the economy that every American should know for the Trump-Clinton debate…
#1 When Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. government was 10.6 trillion dollars in debt. Today, the U.S. government is 19.5 trillion dollars in debt, and Obama still has several months to go until the end of his second term. That means that an average of more than 1.1 trillion dollars will be added to the national debt during his presidency. We are stealing a tremendous amount of consumption from the future to make the economy look much, much better than it otherwise would be, and we are systematically destroying the future in the process.
#2 As Obama prepares to leave office, the rate at which we are adding to the national debt is actually increasing. During the fiscal year that is just ending, the U.S. government has added another 1.36 trillion dollars to the national debt.
#3 It isn’t just the federal government that is on a massive debt binge. Total U.S. corporate debt has nearly doubled since the end of 2007.
#4 Default rates on U.S. corporate debt are the highest that they have been since the last financial crisis.
#5 Corporate profits have fallen for five quarters in a row, and it is being projected that it will be six in a row once the final numbers for the third quarter come in.
#6 During the month of August, commercial bankruptcy filings were up 29 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
#7 The rate of new business formation in the United States dropped dramatically during the last recession and has hovered at that new lower level ever since.
#8 The Wall Street Journal says that this is the weakest “economic recovery” since 1949.
#9 Barack Obama is on track to be the only president in all of U.S. history to never have a single year when the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.
#10 In August, the Cass Freight Index dipped to the lowest level that we have seen for that month since 2010. What this means is that the total amount of stuff being shipped around the country by air, by rail and by truck is really dropping, and this is a clear sign that real economic activity is slowing down in a major way.
#11 Capital expenditure growth has turned negative, and history has shown that this is almost always followed by a new recession.
#12 The percentage of Americans with a full-time job has been sitting at about 48 percent since 2010. You have to go back to 1983 to find a time when full-time employment in this country was so low.
#13 The labor force participation rate peaked back in 1997 and has been steadily falling ever since.
#14 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years is actually higher today than it was during the last recession.
#15 The United States has lost more than five million manufacturing jobs since the year 2000 even though our population has become much larger over that time frame.
#16 If you can believe it, the total number of government employees now outnumbers the total number of manufacturing employees in the United States by almost 10 million.
#17 One study found that median incomes have fallen in more than 80 percent of the major metropolitan areas in this country since the year 2000.
#18 According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
#19 The rate of homeownership in the U.S. has fallen every single year while Barack Obama has been in the White House.
#20 Approximately one out of every five young adults are currently living with their parents.
#21 The auto loan debt bubble recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark for the first time ever.
#22 Auto loan delinquencies are at the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.
#23 In 1971, 61 percent of all Americans were considered to be “middle class”, but now middle class Americans have actually become a minority in this nation.
#24 One recent survey discovered that 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.
#25 According to the Federal Reserve, 47 percent of all Americans could not even pay an unexpected $400 emergency room bill without borrowing the money from somewhere or selling something.
#26 The number of New Yorkers sleeping in homeless shelters just set a brand new record high, and the number of families permanently living in homeless shelters is up a whopping 60 percent over the past five years.
Despite all of the facts that you just read, the truth is that there is one particular group of people that have been doing quite well during the Obama years. I really like how Charles Hugh Smith made this point in one of his recent articles…
The top 5% of households that dominate government, Corporate America, finance, the Deep State and the media have been doing extraordinarily well during the past eight years of stock market bubble (oops, I mean boom) and “recovery,” and so they report that the economy is doing splendidly because they’ve done splendidly.
By recklessly creating money out of thin air and pumping it into the financial markets, the Federal Reserve has greatly enriched the elite, but they have also dramatically increased the gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us. Since he has been in the White House during this time, Barack Obama has gotten the credit for this temporary stock market bubble, and most of the elite love Obama anyway.
But in the process the stage has been set for the greatest economic and financial implosion in U.S. history, and the pain that is coming is going to affect every man, woman and child in this country.
During the debate, Trump and Clinton will talk a lot about tinkering with tax rates and regulations, but those measures are essentially going to be meaningless when compared to the massive economic tsunami that is coming. The next president is going to inherit the biggest economic problems that this nation has ever faced, and it is going to take a miracle of Biblical proportions to turn the U.S. economy in the right direction.
All over America sick and twisted people are dressing up like creepy clowns in order to frighten the living daylights out of others. This trend started back in August, and since then social media has helped it spread like wildfire. So far there have been creepy clown sightings in 11 different states, and Mississippi and Kentucky have been added to the list since my last article. A lot of young kids seem to think that this is a great idea for a “prank”, but authorities are taking the creepy clown phenomenon very, very seriously because in recent days the threats of violence have become much more chilling. Individuals posing as “creepy clowns” on social media are openly naming specific schools that they plan to target and are threatening to commit horrific acts of violence. That may sound like an interesting plot for a Hollywood horror movie, but in real life these kinds of threats have very serious consequences.
On Monday, several schools in Alabama were placed on lockdown due to threats from a group known as “Flomo Klown”…
A number of Alabama schools were on lockdown on Monday after a series of Facebook posts from users posing as clowns threatened local children with violence.
Posts on the group ‘Flomo Klown’ warned that clowns may show up at two schools in the Birmingham area and one student alerted local police.
Fortunately, authorities were able to identify the people that were making those threats. The police discovered that two juveniles and one adult were involved, and so far one arrest has been made in the case.
But that isn’t the only example of “creepy clowns” threatening to commit violence at schools. A short-lived Facebook account under the name of “Bingerman Clownferd” issued a profanity-laced warning to five specific schools in the Montgomery, Alabama area on September 17th. The following comes from a local Montgomery news report…
A newly created Facebook account named Bingerman Clownferd began posting about visiting Montgomery schools last week. This weekend, Clownferd caused a stir on social media with a post listing which Montgomery schools would be visited:
The posts include vulgar language and threats of violence and began the day after Flomaton Police Department arrested two juveniles and an adult for a similar threat that caused a soft lockdown at Flomaton schools.
“I’m the southlawn clown I saw all of you all today at school I watched y’all walk home ik who y’all are if I don’t get u tonight it will be monday (sic),” Clownferd posted on Sept. 16.
As I stated above, law enforcement authorities are taking these threats very seriously. And considering the terror attacks that we just witnessed in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota, they would be foolish not to do so.
Elsewhere in Alabama, security was tightened at a middle school in Calhoun County because someone on Facebook threatened to come to the school and “start shooting”…
Extra deputies patrolled Saks Middle School in Calhoun County after someone threatened on Facebook to start shooting at the school. A 16-year-old Pleasant Valley resident was arrested and charged with terrorist threats. Since the suspect is a minor, their name was a not released. Calhoun County Chief Deputy Matthew Wade described the incident as troubling.
“It’s really disturbing in today’s world that people are doing this to scare others,” he said. “We are going to find the people who did this. There are consequences when you make threats.”
In Etowah County, a social media post hinting about a clown visit at Rainbow Middle School and John Jones Elementary caught authorities attention on Sunday. Police presence was increased at the schools on Monday and a Gadsden City High School freshman was questioned by Rainbow City Police about the matter. Chief Jonathon Horton said the department is collaborating with juvenile probation and the Gadsden City School system to figure out how to move forward in the case.
No “prank” should ever involve threats of violence. Many young people don’t realize this, but anonymous threats of violence can actually get you charged under terrorism laws. So you may think that what you are doing is quite funny, but it could end up landing you behind bars for an extended period of time.
Some sick individuals have gone beyond threats and are actually terrorizing people in person. Just check out what happened in Brighton, Alabama on Sunday and Monday…
In Brighton, a suspect dressed as a clown jumped out of the bushes and chased two teens down the street on Sunday. The incident happened at 8 p.m. on Huntsville Avenue near King Street.
Authorities said the suspect fled in a white van similar to a Chevrolet Astro Van. Brighton police Chief Ray Hubbart said the children and their parents are still a little terrified. Since the investigation is ongoing, anyone with information is asked to call Brighton police at 205-425-8934.
In another incident, on Monday night an 18-year-old was arrested in West Blocton after jumping in front of a car while wearing a clown mask, according to WBRC.
A similar incident just took place in northwest Georgia, but in this instance the “creepy clown” was actually holding what appeared to be a knife…
The first incident involved a “creepy clown” chasing a couple of kids from a store parking lot back to their home, reports show.
“According to the complainant, a person dressed as a creepy clown and wielding what appeared to be a knife, allegedly chased her 17-year-old daughter and 11-year-old niece from the lot of the Mapco convenience store back to their Fernwood Drive apartment,” officer Mitchell Moore said.
Was it just a prank, or did that “creepy clown” actually intend to do harm to those children?
Fortunately we did not find out, and it was probably just someone trying to pull a “prank”, but if authorities would have caught up with this individual they would have thrown him in jail.
With each passing day, more photos of these “creepy clowns” are being posted on social media websites. A Facebook user named Jamie Hill just posted a picture of a “creepy clown” that is getting a lot of attention that was taken on the side of the 192 highway in London, Kentucky. You can view it on Facebook right here…
This is the description that Jamie Hill posted along with the photograph…
So, I was a little scared to post this because I didn’t think anyone would believe me until Kelly Hill told me that one of her friends just had seen a clown here in London. Amy Gunter And I was out tonight & was headed back home on 192 & saw this. Now, it’s not a really good picture because I couldn’t stop, there was people behind me. I seriously think this clown thing has gotten out of hand & someone is going to get hurt. Please share this so people around London will know that they are here!
As I stated in my previous article, dressing up as a “creepy clown” is a quick and easy way for unbalanced individuals to get media attention, and so we are likely to see this trend continue to intensify. And of course Halloween is quickly approaching, and creepy clown costumes are always popular this time of the year.
But this has long since stopped being funny. The threats of violence are becoming increasingly disturbing, and it is only a matter of time before someone goes too far and people start getting seriously hurt. So let us hope that this “trend” fades away soon and people start moving on to other things.
When people get hungry enough, they will do just about anything for some food. According to brand new research that was just released this week from Feeding America and the Urban Institute, there are millions of teenagers in America that live in “food insecure” households, and researchers were stunned to learn what some of these teens are willing to do to feed themselves. Some resort to shoplifting, others deal drugs, and there were a surprising number of participants in the study that actually admitted to trading sex for food. It wouldn’t be a shock to hear that these kinds of things are going on in an economically-depressed nation such as Venezuela, but this is the United States of America. We are supposed to be the wealthiest nation on the entire planet. Sadly, even while the stock market has been soaring in recent years, poverty in America has been on the rise. For those on the low end of the economic scale, things have gone from bad to worse since the end of the last recession, and millions of children are deeply suffering as a result.
Let’s start with some of the hard numbers. The following comes directly from the Urban Institute website…
An estimated 6.8 million people ages 10 to 17 are food insecure, meaning they don’t have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. Another 2.9 million are very food insecure, and roughly 4 million live in marginally food secure households, where the threat of running out of food is real.
Food insecurity takes a tremendous toll on teenagers. Poor nutrition—and the stress of hunger and poverty—can jeopardize their physical and mental health and development and their academic success. But despite the gravity and prevalence of teen food insecurity, we know very little about how these young people experience and cope with hunger.
The researchers already knew that lots of young people were hungry in America. But what surprised them were the lengths that many of these youngsters said that they would go to in order to get food…
Some of the youths said they or someone they know — mostly young men — have turned to shoplifting food, selling drugs or stealing items to sell.
The teens also reported knowing young women who have sold their bodies for food or had sex for money so they could buy food for their families.
Going to jail or failing a class in order to have to attend summer school were also some of the lengths teens went to.
Could you imagine your daughter or your granddaughter exchanging her body for food?
For most of us that is absolutely unthinkable, but the truth is that this is taking place on the streets of America every single day.
And this wasn’t just some blind random phone survey. The researchers conducted personal interviews with focus groups, and what these kids were willing to admit doing was absolutely astounding. Here is another excerpt directly out of the report…
- When faced with acute food insecurity, teens in all but two of the communities said that youth engage in criminal behavior, ranging from shoplifting food directly to selling drugs and stealing items to resell for cash. These behaviors were most common among young men in communities with the most limited job options.
- Teens in all 10 communities and in 13 of the 20 focus groups talked about some youth selling sex for money to pay for food. These themes arose most strongly in high-poverty communities where teens also described sexually coercive environments. Sexual exploitation most commonly took the form of transactional dating relationships with older adults.
- In a few communities, teens talked about going to jail or failing school (so they could attend summer classes and get school lunch) as viable strategies for ensuring regular meals.
Many of these young people understand that what they are doing is wrong. Just consider what some of them told the researchers…
A girl in Portland, Oregon told researchers: “It’s really like selling yourself. Like you’ll do whatever you need to do to get money or eat.”
Another comment from Portland: “You’re not even dating … they’ll be like … ‘I don’t really love him, but I’m going to do what I have to do.’”
Many prefer to rationalise what they are doing as dating of sorts. A boy in rural North Carolina said: “When you’re selling your body, it’s more in disguise. Like if I had sex with you, you have to buy me dinner tonight … that’s how girls deal with the struggle … That’s better than taking money because if they take money, they will be labeled a prostitute.”
When I read the information in this report, I was stunned. Yes, I write about our economic decline and the rise in poverty all the time, but I didn’t know that things were this bad.
And the researchers were surprised by what they were hearing as well. One of them said that the fact that girls are trading their bodies for food “was really shocking to me”, and she believes that things are “just getting worse over time”…
“I’ve been doing research in low-income communities for a long time, and I’ve written extensively about the experiences of women in high poverty communities and the risk of sexual exploitation, but this was new,” said Susan Popkin, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and lead author of the report, Impossible Choices.
“Even for me, who has been paying attention to this and has heard women tell their stories for a long time, the extent to which we were hearing about food being related to this vulnerability was new and shocking to me, and the level of desperation that it implies was really shocking to me. It’s a situation I think is just getting worse over time.”
But aren’t we being told that things are getting better?
Aren’t we being told that our leaders “fixed” the economy?
Of course the truth is that America is mired in a long-term economic decline that stretches back for decades. With each passing year the middle class gets smaller as a percentage of the population, and poverty continues to grow. Last year the middle class became a minority of the population for the first time ever, and a lot of formerly middle class Americans are now among those that aren’t sure that they are going to have enough food to eat this month.
Hunger in America is a major crisis and it is growing. Just because you may live in a comfortable home in a wealthy neighborhood does not mean that this problem is not real.
Tonight there are millions of Americans that do not know where their next meal is going to come from, and they deserve our love and compassion.
Did you know that our planet will be hit by more than 100,000 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater this year alone? Earlier today, I came across a report that contained this amazing fact, but it was so incredible that I felt that I had to go and verify it myself. So I went to the official USGS website, and I found out that this is actually true. Overall, there are about half a million earthquakes around the globe each year, but it is only when a quake is of about magnitude 3.0 or greater that humans actually feel them. As the very large earthquakes in Italy and Myanmar within the last 24 hours have demonstrated, the shaking of our planet is getting worse, and this is something that I have written about over and over again. So why is this happening? Why does the crust of our planet seemingly become more and more unstable with each passing year?
We need to start addressing those questions, because there aren’t too many things that can do more damage to a community than a major earthquake. Very early Wednesday morning, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck central Italy. It is being reported that it sounded “like a bomb” went off, and it looks like this is going to end up being the worst natural disaster to hit Italy in many years.
This earthquake rattled buildings in Rome, it could be felt in Naples to the south, and it is even being claimed that it could be felt all the way up in Bologna in the north.
The epicenter of the quake was a charming little Italian town known as Amatrice. According to Mayor Sergio Pirozzi, “the town is no more” at this point. You can see some amazing photographs of the destruction for yourself right here. Homes, churches and businesses collapsed in heaps of rubble, and at this moment rescuers are engaged in a frantic race against time to pull survivors from the wreckage…
Rescue teams using bulldozers, and aided by townspeople with their bare hands, were still poring through the piles of rock, metal and wood late Wednesday looking for possible survivors. Police near the town of Ascoli said they could hear cries for help from under the rubble but lacked the heavy equipment to move the rocks, according the RAI radio.
“We need chain saws, shears to cut iron bars, and jacks to remove beams: everything, we need everything,” civil protection worker Andrea Gentili told the Associated Press.
So far, the death toll stands at 159 people, but that number is going to go way up as more bodies are discovered. The following was reported by Reuters…
One hotel that collapsed in the small town of Amatrice probably had about 70 guests, and only seven bodies had so far been recovered, said the mayor of the town that was one of the worst hit by the quake.
But as destructive as the Italian quake was, it wasn’t even the largest earthquake on the globe on Wednesday. A huge magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Myanmar, but because that earthquake was much deeper it didn’t do the same level of damage as the quake in Italy did…
A powerful earthquake shook Myanmar on Wednesday, killing at least three people and damaging nearly a hundred ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist site, officials said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.8 quake was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, a town south of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth’s surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles), it said.
Sadly, most Americans couldn’t care less about what goes on in places like Italy or Myanmar. I know that may sound terrible, but it is true.
However, Americans should care, because this global rise in earthquake activity is affecting us as well. In fact, the USGS now says that human activity may at least be partially to blame for the “dramatic increase in seismicity” that we have been witnessing in the United States in recent years…
On Monday, for the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey has released an analysis of the magnitude of “human-induced” earthquakes. That such a thing as human-induced earthquakes can exist is scary enough, but the “dramatic increase in seismicity” in places such as Oklahoma has forced the USGS to consider the threat more broadly.
“By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.,” said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, in a statement. “This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”
And I wanted to note that there was a magnitude 3.9 earthquake in Colorado on Tuesday. We have started to see sizable earthquakes in many portions of the country where they are not expected, and this is going to continue to get worse as the shaking of our planet intensifies.
There is one more thing that I wanted to share with you all today. I don’t know if this is related to anything, but a blood red moon was photographed directly behind the new World Trade Center tower last night. To some people this is just a meaningless coincidence, but there are others that consider it to be a very ominous sign.
This summer, things have been relatively calm and peaceful in America. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have dominated the headlines, but other than the election there really hasn’t been a major crisis that has grabbed the attention of the nation.
But of course all of that could change in a moment. Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that we are still virtually defenseless against a major natural disaster.
Scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a great New Madrid earthquake will shake the center of the country. They also tell us that it is inevitable that there will be a major earthquake in southern California, that volcanoes on the west coast will erupt again, and that the Yellowstone supervolcano could wipe out much of the country in a single day.
As global seismic activity continues to rise, it is just a matter of time before a string of historic disasters hits this nation.
Unfortunately, I am convinced that this could happen a lot sooner than most people would dare to imagine.
In 1960, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen. Nearly two million people lived there, and it had the highest per capita income in the United States. That may be hard to believe, because today it actually has one of the lowest per capita incomes of all of our major cities. Over the decades more than a million people have left the city, and thousands of abandoned homes have been torn down. But there are still tens of thousands of abandoned dwellings that remain standing, and some have sold for as little as one dollar in recent years. Once Detroit was the envy of the entire planet, but now it has become a global joke and in other countries they love to do news stories about “the ruins of Detroit” to show how rapidly America is rotting and decaying. Sadly, Detroit is far from alone, because there are other formerly great manufacturing cities that have declined just as fast as Detroit has.
Earlier today, I came across a video that contains footage that someone recently captured as they drove through the city of Detroit at night. To say that the footage is disturbing would be a tremendous understatement…
It has become known as a mecca of violent crime and poverty, and now a viral video is giving an unpleasant view of Detroit after dark.
The clip, called Driving through Detroit at night, was filmed by a woman who was a passenger in a car going around the Motor City and was posted to Twitter at the weekend.
It shows terrifying scenes of gangs gathered on the sidewalk, prostitutes lifting up their skirts and dancing, and even a man being run over by a car on purpose.
I would have liked to share the video with you all, but it is just way too graphic. There really are prostitutes lifting up their skirts in the video, and a man really is hit by a vehicle. If you want to watch it for yourself, it is very easy to find on YouTube. But please be warned that children should not be watching this.
If you live in a peaceful rural or suburban setting, the kind of behavior displayed in this video may seem very foreign to you. In America today, it is way too easy to allow our televisions to define reality for us. But the warped view of reality that we get through our televisions is nothing like the real world. The real world is cold, cruel and very unforgiving.
If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the real world will eat you alive.
In the city of Detroit today, close to half the population is functionally illiterate, and one survey found that 60 percent of all children in the city are living in poverty. It has been reported that 40 percent of the street lights do not work, and as you can see from the video it is a very frightening place to be after dark.
And don’t count on the police to help you. The size of the police force in Detroit has been reduced by about 40 percent over the years, and it has been estimated that it takes the Detroit police an average of 58 minutes to respond to a call.
If it was just one major city where all of these things were happening, that would be bad enough.
Sadly, the truth is that what is happening in Detroit is happening all over the nation. In fact, St. Louis and Memphis now have higher gun crime rates than Detroit does…
The listing places St Louis above the notoriously dangerous Detroit which has topped the list in previous years thanks to the city’s high gun crime rate.
Detroit is now listed as third after Memphis, Tennessee which had 84.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.
Birmingham, Alabama comes in fourth place with 82.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents while Rockford, Illinois was fifth with a rate of 76.3.
Earlier this month, we saw how a major city such as Milwaukee can erupt in flames in just a matter of hours. And in Chicago, some of the major gangs have agreed to use automatic weapons and sniper fire in their battle against the police.
A spirit of chaos and violence has descended on America, and things are going to get much worse during the months and years to come.
Meanwhile, crime continues to rise in our smaller cities and in our suburbs as well. For a moment, I want you to consider a short excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article entitled “Walmart’s Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy“…
The call log on the store stretches 126 pages, documenting more than 5,000 trips over the past five years. Last year police were called to the store and three other Tulsa Walmarts just under 2,000 times. By comparison, they were called to the city’s four Target stores about 300 times. Most of the calls to the northeast Supercenter were for shoplifting, but there’s no shortage of more serious crimes, including five armed robberies so far this year, a murder suspect who killed himself with a gunshot to the head in the parking lot last year, and, in 2014, a group of men who got into a parking lot shootout that killed one and seriously injured two others.
Police reports from dozens of stores suggest the number of petty crimes committed on Walmart properties nationwide this year will be in the hundreds of thousands.
Did you catch that?
This Bloomberg report says that there will be “hundreds of thousands” of crimes just committed at Wal-Mart stores alone this year.
If people are behaving like this while times are still relatively stable and relatively good, what would things look like during a real crisis?
Many people openly wonder what happened to Detroit, but it really isn’t much of a mystery at all.
Over the decades, our politicians have stood idly by as tens of thousands of businesses and millions of good paying jobs have left the country. Our economic infrastructure has been absolutely gutted, and as a result formerly great manufacturing cities have become rotting, decaying hellholes.
And it certainly doesn’t help that voters in many of these cities have willingly chosen to put radical leftists into power time after time.
Unfortunately, it appears that the nation as a whole is about to hand the keys to the White House to a radical leftist that has a violent temper that is absolutely legendary. If she gets into power, that might just be the final nail in our coffin.
What has already happened to Detroit is slowly happening to the entire country, but we never seem to learn from our past mistakes.
So now we will suffer the consequences for our very foolish decisions, and it will not be pretty.
Have you noticed that people say some of the most hateful things imaginable on the Internet? Earlier today, I came across a Time Magazine article entitled “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet“, and it made me reflect on my own experience as the publisher of a number of prominent websites. Over the years, I have often gotten to see what is really going on in some of the darkest hearts in our society. There are people that come to my websites that somehow think that making crude sexual remarks about the wives and children of people that they have never met is perfectly acceptable behavior. There are others that say incredibly vile things about people that have a different skin color than they do, and some people have a hatred for Christians and the Christian faith that is absolutely frightening. I can’t understand why anyone would want to be like that, but apparently this kind of behavior is very widespread. In fact, one Pew Research Center survey discovered that 70 percent of all 18-to-24-year-olds who use the Internet have experienced harassment at some point.
Sadly, the truth is that the relative anonymity of the Internet allows people to reveal what is really in their hearts. For some people, the Internet magnifies the kindness and goodness that is in their hearts, but for others it does the exact opposite. From the safety of their own homes, they endlessly spew speech that is so abusive that it is hard to imagine that the person spewing it is actually human.
These people are commonly known as “trolls”, and the following is how the Time Magazine article that I mentioned above describes these trolls…
Psychologists call this the online disinhibition effect, in which factors like anonymity, invisibility, a lack of authority and not communicating in real time strip away the mores society spent millennia building. And it’s seeping from our smartphones into every aspect of our lives.
The people who relish this online freedom are called trolls, a term that originally came from a fishing method online thieves use to find victims. It quickly morphed to refer to the monsters who hide in darkness and threaten people. Internet trolls have a manifesto of sorts, which states they are doing it for the “lulz,” or laughs. What trolls do for the lulz ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats.
Whatever happened to treating other people the way that you would like to be treated?
When did the Golden Rule go out of style?
As our society becomes more evil, hearts all over the country are growing cold, and one of the results is that the Internet is being transformed into a festival of hatred. The same Time Magazine article detailed some particularly disturbing examples of troll hate…
They’ve been steadily upping their game. In 2011, trolls descended on Facebook memorial pages of recently deceased users to mock their deaths. In 2012, after feminist Anita Sarkeesian started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of YouTube videos chronicling misogyny in video games, she received bomb threats at speaking engagements, doxxing threats, rape threats and an unwanted starring role in a video game called Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian. In June of this year, Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, quit Twitter, on which he had nearly 35,000 followers, after a barrage of anti-Semitic messages. At the end of July, feminist writer Jessica Valenti said she was leaving social media after receiving a rape threat against her daughter, who is 5 years old.
On a very basic level, the Internet allows people to reveal who they really are. Unfortunately, we are finding out that a lot of us are truly vile human beings. Some time ago, a team of Canadian researchers did some research on Internet trolls, and what they found out was quite alarming…
They conducted two online studies with over 1,200 people, giving personality tests to each subject along with a survey about their Internet commenting behavior. They were looking for evidence that linked trolling with the “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism.
They found that Dark Tetrad scores were highest among people who said trolling was their favorite Internet activity.
It should be no surprise that our society is crawling with narcissists, psychopaths and sadists. For decades we have been pushing God out of every corner of public life, and as a result we have seen a moral decline that is absolutely unprecedented in our history.
So what can be done?
Is there a way that the trolls can be stopped?
Some big websites have stepped up their efforts to ban people that are advocating hatred and violence. For instance, the New York Times says that Twitter just suspended 235,000 accounts “that promoted terrorism”…
Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts that promoted terrorism over the last six months, as part of a continuing effort to keep people from using the social network for extremist causes, the company said Thursday.
“The world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe,” Twitter said in a statement. “We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform.”
And I definitely applaud Twitter for that.
But where does the censorship stop? All too often, the definition of “extremists” goes far beyond violent terrorists.
Just consider what is happening during this campaign season. Virtually all of the big tech companies have engaged in some form of “pro-Trump censorship”, and this was brilliantly detailed in a recent piece by Liz Crokin. The following is a short excerpt…
I began looking into how strong the bias and censorship runs in these forums after I did an interview on the pro-Trump podcast, MAGAPod. The show’s host, Mark Hammond, was disappointed Apple wouldn’t run his show without an “explicit” warning. Hammond’s podcast didn’t contain content that would be deemed explicit under Apple’s policy, and most other shows in the News & Politics category aren’t labeled as such.
On June 18, Hammond talked to Sandra, a representative from Apple. She explained that, since the description of his show is pro-Trump, his show is explicit in nature—because the subject matter is Donald Trump. So, an Apple employee concluded the Republican presidential candidate is explicit.
iTunes has dozens of podcasts discussing Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler—none of which is marked explicit.
And of course it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a huge Hillary Clinton supporter and recently hosted a $50,000 per plate fundraiser for her campaign.
So where do we draw the line?
On my websites, I try to let everyone have their say as much as possible. I very much believe in the “marketplace of ideas”, and I very much believe that the interaction between light and darkness can produce some extraordinary results.
But that also means that I often allow people to say things that I find highly offensive.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know that the problem is growing. As our society continues to come apart at the seams, the hatred on the Internet will continue to increase.
The Internet is used for all sorts of horrible things, but it can also be used to do great things as well. As the darkness rises, I would encourage all of us to choose to be lights.
In a world filled with hate, love is desperately needed.
So instead of responding to hate with even more hate, let us seek to become people of great faith, great hope and great love.