At what point will America start being globally considered a Plutocracy?

It has become increasingly clear that, at present, America is no longer representative of its people, but rather that of a small percentage of its corporate interest groups and wealthy individuals, and that these influential minorities have little to no interest in addressing the critical threats that we now face as a fundamentally divided country. As defined, the American government now more closely resembles that of an Oligarchy rather than that of a Democracy.


Oligarchy versus Plutocracy


“Definition: An oligarchy is an organization controlled by just a few businesses or individuals. They have enough power to turn the organization to benefit them to the exclusion of other members. They maintain their power through their relationships with each other. Oligarchy is from the Greek word oligarkhes. It means “few governing.” A plutocracy is a subset of an oligarchy. A plutocracy is when the leaders are rich.”


“An oligarchy can occur in any political system. In a democracy, oligarchs are not elected by the people. Instead, they use their relationships and money to influence the elected officials. In a monarchy or tyranny, they have enough power and money to influence the king or tyrant.” “Oligarchs only associate with others who share those same traits. They become an organized minority as opposed to the unorganized majority.” “Oligarchies exist in any organization that delegates power to a small group of movers and shakers.”


“Oligarchies increase income inequality. That’s because the oligarchs siphon a nation’s wealth into their pockets. That leaves less for everyone else. As the insider group gains power, it seeks to keep it. As their knowledge and expertise grow, it becomes more difficult for anyone else to break in.” “Oligarchies can become stale. They pick people like them who share the same values and worldview.” “If an oligarchy takes too much power, it can restrict a free market. They can agree informally to fix prices which violate the laws of supply and demand.”


“An oligarchy forms when leaders agree to increase their power regardless of whether it benefits society. The people in charge are very good at what they do, otherwise they wouldn’t have risen to that level. That’s how they can continue to take more wealth and power from those that don’t have those skills or interests.”


“Oligarchies can also arise in a democracy if the people don’t stay informed. This happens more when a society becomes extremely complex and difficult to understand. People are willing to make the trade-off. They allow those with the passion and knowledge to rule to take over.”


[What Is an Oligarchy? Pros, Cons, Examples]


The term Oligarchy is clearly a loaded term, and after the initial research study documenting this was released in 2014, there was widespread and heated condemnation as backlash to this assertion.


“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”


[Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens]


The largest argument against this conclusion, appeared to be that since the majority of the country’s population agreed with the policies being enacted by government leaders, then America cannot be an Oligarchy because the majority of the population is in democratic agreement with the policy makers in charge of creating them.


If this was the case in 2014 however, it is no longer true now, since it has been repeatedly and definitively proven throughout 2017 that the majority of the country’s population is not at all in agreement with the policies being enacted by our government leaders. Yet, these policies continue to be drafted specifically to appease the wealthiest individuals and corporate donors who were in most support of the Republican party and the rise of Donald Trump regardless.


The Policy Makers


“They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters. Across a sprawling country, they reside in an archipelago of wealth, exclusive neighborhoods dotting a handful of cities and towns. And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.”


“Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.”


“But regardless of industry, the families investing the most in presidential politics overwhelmingly lean right, contributing tens of millions of dollars to support Republican candidates who have pledged to pare regulations; cut taxes on income, capital gains and inheritances; and shrink entitlement programs.”


[The Families Funding the 2016 Presidential Election – The New York Times]


This exorbitant mix of super-rich individual donors, Super PACs, and corporate lobbyists was a common theme all throughout the 2017 election, and now, this too is becoming a factor in the 2018 elections yet to come.


“After Donald Trump appeared to endorse Ron DeSantis’ campaign for Florida governor last week, a handful of the biggest and most influential billionaires in Republican politics threw their support behind the three-term GOP congressman, upending the race in the nation’s biggest swing state.” “The stable of billionaires and millionaires listed on DeSantis’ “ Finance Leadership Team ,” obtained by POLITICO, includes casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, hedge fund heiress Rebekah Mercer, investment tycoon Foster Friess and other donors who have funded the conservative Koch brothers’ network and President Trump’s campaign. Just last week, Trump weighed in on Twitter to say that DeSantis “would make a GREAT Governor of Florida.”” “DeSantis has yet to formally announce his 2018 campaign for governor, but his intentions to seek the office became clear in May after he established a state political committee, called the Fund for Florida’s Future, that’s allowed to raise and spend unlimited soft money from corporate contributors.”


Note this in particular: “the Fund for Florida’s Future, that’s allowed to raise and spend unlimited soft money from corporate contributors”


““This sets DeSantis apart from the rest. He will have the financial resources and the ground game and the Trump base to be an incredible statewide candidate,” said David Bossie, a DeSantis backer who founded the Citizens United conservative group, served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager and just co-authored the new “Let Trump Be Trump” book plugged by the president.” “Normally, national contributors such as Adelson and Mercer don’t get involved in state races. But DeSantis has earned their trust and become a sort of “billionaire whisperer,” said one Florida-based Republican fundraiser. As a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, DeSantis is a frequent Fox News guest who has earned a reputation as a small-government conservative, an opponent of the independent federal investigation of Trump and a supporter of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. And donors have so far loved what they have heard. “These big national finance givers are true believers.”


“”Mercer’s support for DeSantis stands above the others. She manages the political giving of her father, hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, and played a key role in the Trump transition. The Mercers, top supporters of Trump’s campaign, own a stake in the conservative Breitbart media enterprise and the Cambridge Analytica data firm used by Trump’s campaign.””


[Billionaire kingmakers swarm Florida governor’s race after Trump endorsement – POLITICO]


It has become abundantly clear that the only way at present to achieve public office in the highest circles of the United States government is to be individually wealthy, or to have full support by those who are. Without vast sums of money, it is impossible to fight the public smear campaigns that are financed by those who do have these resources, making it nearly impossible to succeed otherwise.


“America’s first billionaire president has remained devoted to the goal of placing his wealthy friends in his Cabinet, a top campaign promise. “I love all people, rich or poor,” Trump told a crowd of supporters at an Iowa rally in late June 2017. “But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person.””


“Mission accomplished. His Cabinet appears to be the richest in modern U.S. history, worth nearly $4.3 billion in aggregate. And it’s full of some of his oldest friends — and biggest donors.”


[The $4.3 Billion Cabinet: See What Each Top Trump Advisor Is Worth]


The Economy


With the recent passing of the 2017 tax reform law, which was forced through both houses in Congress by all Republicans so fast that most didn’t even have time to read it, the wealthiest individuals in America, along with their corporate interest groups, are guaranteed to increase their personal wealth at a much faster rate and in much greater quantities than they were before.


One of the primary arguments that Republicans used in favor of this tax reform, was that it would stop wealthy corporations and individuals from moving money out of the United States where they were stockpiling trillions of dollars in offshore accounts in other countries. They said this was important, because all money that is moved out of the American economy and into such offshore accounts pulls money out of general circulation, which weakens the American economy.


This is true, because the continuous circulation of money in an economy keeps the economy alive and healthy, in the same manner that the continuous circulation of blood in a human body keeps a person alive and healthy. If money stops flowing freely in an economy, the economy fails.


So, what the Republicans neglected to say when they forced through their 2017 tax reform is this, if you continuously funnel trillions of accumulated wealth into the personal and corporate bank accounts of a miniscule percentage of the country’s population, it eventually pulls all of this money out of general circulation in the same manner as though all of this wealth were being sent out of the country into offshore accounts. This occurs because the horded wealth is no longer available to flow freely within the circulatory system of the economy. This is analogous to the proverbial dragons who roost on their piles of treasure so that nobody can ever see it, or like terminal parasites that suck so much blood out of the body that it is no longer possible for the person to survive. In a country as big as the United States, this process takes a long time to occur, but if left unchecked, this does eventually happen.


The Republicans argue that this cannot occur, because the accumulated wealth is reintroduced back into the economy by corporations through job wages amongst other business expenses, and by super-rich individuals through their personal spending and charitable donations. In practice however, history has shown that corporations are more likely to reinvest excessive profits back into the same corporations in order to increase their value and pay out higher bonuses for top level executives, and super-rich individuals are more likely to use their wealth to accumulate yet more wealth.


For example, despite what the Republicans say about this, the vast majority of the super-rich in American society have little to know interest in donating large percentages of their personal wealth to finance public services like health and education programs, infrastructure repair programs, law enforcement, or any of the other various services that are required for American society to function properly each day so that everything doesn’t come to a grinding halt, nor would they be willing to do so without strings attached to benefit them personally or to push personal or political agendas if they did. This is one of the primary issues that impact for-profit charter schools in the United States for instance, where the education of children is influenced by the agendas of corporate board members and their investors.


“Vowing to fight public school profiteering, Democratic state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would either block or seriously limit for-profit companies’ ability to operate charter schools in California.” “The two proposals seek to address a growing concern among legislators that Wall Street-traded companies managing some of the state’s charters are raking in mountains of state aid while providing students a poor education.” ““When we allow private companies to run public schools, we invite them to focus on shareholders and profit margins instead of on children and student achievement,” McCarty said in an interview. “Profiting off the public good is bad public policy.””


“He says he first learned of the problem last year when a San Jose Mercury News investigation cited state data showing that K12 Inc.-the biggest for-profit firm of its kind in the state-reaps tens of millions of taxpayer dollars annually while operating online academies that graduate fewer than half of their high school students.” “By the state’s calculation, about half of the 15,000 California students enrolled in the company’s schools are not proficient in reading and only a third are proficient in math-levels below statewide averages.” “The investigation also noted that kids who spend as little as one minute during a school day logged onto K12’s software may have been counted as “present” in records used to calculate the amount of funding the schools get from the state. And last year, the company reached a $168.5 million settlement with the state over claims it had done just that.”


“California’s effort to reign in for-profit charters is at odds with the Trump administration, whose top education official, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, has long been a supporter of the very for-profit companies these bills aim to stifle.” “When DeVos’ husband Dick ran for governor of Michigan in 2006, he disclosed that they were early investors in K12. And as chairwoman of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group, Betsy DeVos repeatedly called for expanding families’ access to online “virtual” schools.”


“Virginia-based K12 now faces a federal securities fraud lawsuit filed by shareholders as well. Seeking to dismiss the case, the company has argued in court documents that the plaintiffs “fall far short” of their burden to prove the complaint is justified.” “Still, in the months since Trump’s election, K12’s stock price has almost doubled.”


[California bills aim to crack down on for-profit charter schools | CALmatters]


It’s also important to note that this scenario already occurred once before, when the last full-house Republican majority enacted wide sweeping tax reforms to steeply tilt the balance of wealth into the possession of the richest members of society. This was during the early 1900’s, just before the total economic collapse in 1929, marking the beginning of the Great Depression. Just before the collapse, the personal wealth of super-rich individuals was inconceivably greater than the total wealth of all of the American population combined, and corporate stock values were higher than they ever were before. The same conditions are true right now.


Political Corruption


Another primary problem with an Oligarchy is that those at the top are easily corruptible, because their incentive for governance is ultimately based on greed and consolidating their personal wealth and power. This too has become abundantly clear in today’s political climate. The recent revoking of Net Neutrality laws by the Republican majority in the FCC is a prime example of this.


Net Neutrality laws were enacted specifically to ensure that it would be impossible for unscrupulous and dishonest corporate interest groups to manipulate information access rights to extort higher rates from other businesses and individuals, to prevent censorship by deliberately restricting information flows, to prevent the suppression of specific demographic groups by limiting their access rights to online services, and to prevent various unethical business practices from being used to take advantage of people. Net Neutrality is meant to ensure that all people, regardless whether they are rich or poor, will have equal access rights to all internet based technologies and services.


It is logical to assume that the people who would be most in favor of revoking Net Neutrality laws are those who support legalizing unethical business practices and possibly even criminal activities to achieve greater profits or to control information flows for censorship. In fact, there is strong evidence that this is true.


“A study has found more than 7.75 million comments were submitted from email domains attributed to, and they had nearly identical wording. The FCC says some of the nearly 23 million comments on Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to gut Obama-era rules were filed under the same name more than 90 times each. And then there were the 444,938 from Russian email addresses, which also raised eyebrows, even though it’s unclear if they were from actual Russian citizens or computer bots originating in the U.S. or elsewhere.”


“Many submissions seemed to include false or misleading personal information, with 57 percent of comments analyzed using temporary or duplicate email addresses, the Pew Research Center said in a study published Wednesday.” “There’s “clear evidence of organized campaigns to flood the comments with repeated messages,” Pew said in its study that found 94 percent of comments were submitted multiple times — in some cases, hundreds of thousands of times.”


[FCC Got 444,938 Net-Neutrality Comments From Russian Email Addresses – Bloomberg]


Nevertheless, every Republican on the FCC panel voted in favor of revoking the Net Neutrality laws regardless of this obvious corruption of the polls to influence the vote.


In a report detailing the business ties of Donald Trump that were recently made public, the correlation of political corruption and ties to money flow are also clearly evident.


“FBME, previously known as the Federal Bank of the Middle East, was based in Tanzania but about 90% of its banking was conducted in Cyprus. A report by the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in 2014 said the bank was an institution of “primary money laundering concern”.”


“The report found that the bank was evading efforts by the Central Bank of Cyprus to supervise its activities, and that FBME was facilitating money laundering, terrorist financing, transnational organised crime, fraud, sanctions evasion, weapons trading and political corruption.”


“A 2014 internal report by the Central Bank of Cyprus about FBME that was obtained by the Guardian found that FBME had banking relationships with several Russians who were considered to be politically sensitive clients and that about half of the bank’s clients were Russian nationals, including Vladimir Smirnov, who is close to Putin, and Aleksandr Shishkin, a member of Putin’s political party.”


“The German bank is Trump’s biggest lender.”


[FBI investigates Russian-linked Cyprus bank accused of money laundering’ | World news | The Guardian]


Propaganda and Misdirection


The American mainstream media plays a significant role in perpetuating this situation as well. It is apparent that most mainstream media outlets appear more interested in fueling pointless left versus right arguments that seem to increase ratings without actually reporting the truth, and opinion-based talk shows like Fox and Friends for example, amongst others, are more interested in pushing conspiracy theories that are believed by millions of viewers as literal fact regardless of what is actually true, which continues to sew widespread confusion and division throughout American society.


Most Americans cannot identify the difference between literal truth versus what they are told is true or what is implied as true when hearing this information on opinion-based political talk shows, and they often simply believe what they hear and state this as absolute truth regardless, because they lack the time, resources, and knowhow to investigate all of these assertions personally.


It is the 2016 presidential election interference by Russia where this polarization is most observable however, as is the blatant use of propaganda and lies to manipulate the minds of millions of people each day.


“Trump continually asserts that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election is fake news, a hoax or a made-up story, even though there is widespread, bipartisan evidence to the contrary.”


“It’s not so much that Trump trades in falsehoods – it’s more that he tries to create a different version of reality simply by asserting it.”


“That denial is of a different order from most presidential posturing, said Nicholas Burns, who served as ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush. “I’ve worked for both parties,” Burns said during public testimony to the Republican-controlled Congress this summer. “It’s inconceivable to me that any of President Trump’s predecessors would deny the gravity of such an open attack on our democratic system.”


“Trump’s labeling of the Russia story as a hoax fits in with his pattern of dismissing critical coverage as “fake news.” He’s used the term when he believes his administration doesn’t get complimentary coverage” “Since the beginning of 2017, President Trump has publicly invoked the phrase “fake news” more than 170 times. Virtually every instance has been in response to critical news coverage.”


“It’s that characterization – that Russia’s interference in the election doesn’t even exist – that is contradicted by a mountain of evidence, say foreign policy experts.” “Once you say, we don’t mind foreign governments interfering with your elections, then you’re on your way to yielding up significant aspects of sovereignty,”


[2017 Lie of the Year: Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story’ | PolitiFact]


As it turns out, one of the best tools found for instantly spreading propaganda and misinformation, also referred to as ‘fake news’, is the use of social media. Various mainstream social media technologies have been subverted and weaponized to manipulate the thoughts and decisions of millions of people, which has contributed significantly to the widespread polarization and increased hostilities between demographic groups within the United States and abroad.


“As many as 126 million people – or one-third the U.S. population – may have seen material posted by a Russian troll farm under fake Facebook identities between 2015 and 2017, according to testimony presented by Facebook’s general counsel at a hearing before the Senate on Tuesday.” “The figure is the largest yet of the possible reach Russian operatives had on the giant social platformin the run-up to last year’s presidential election and afterwards and reflects Facebook’s new disclosures that a Kremlin-linked misinformation agency used original content in users’ feeds, as well as paid ads.” “Twitter, which originally said it found 201 accounts linked to Russia that were sending out automated, election-related content, also increased its estimates of the reach these operatives had on its platform. It has now found 36,746 such accounts, according to testimony to be presented by the company’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett.”


“The companies’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism shows that Russian attempts to influence U.S. voters by using the power of social media platforms and an understanding of hot-button social issues was much broader than originally thought.” “The goal, said Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch, was “to try to sow division and discord – and to try to undermine our election process.””


“The Russia propaganda machine used a mix of ads and original posts. Facebook says an estimated 11.4 million people in the United States saw at least one ad that was paid for by the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency between Jan. 2015 and August 2017.” “But the number of U.S. residents who saw ads was dwarfed by the estimated 29 million people who got content the firm generated and shared in their Facebook News Feeds.” “And because people frequently share, like and forward material, Facebook estimates that approximately 126 million people might have seen this divisive material during the two years in which the group was using Facebook to place ads and distribute postings.” “”Many of the ads and posts we’ve seen so far are deeply disturbing – seemingly intended to amplify societal divisions and pit groups of people against each other. They would be controversial even if they came from authentic accounts in the United States. But coming from foreign actors using fake accounts they are simply unacceptable,” Stretch’s testimony said.”


“The Internet Research Agency is a St. Petersburg-based organization that posts Russia-government approved propaganda online, under fake identities, according to U.S. intelligence officials.” “Twitter says the Russia-related accounts sent “approximately 1.4 million automated, election-related Tweets,” which were seen by approximately 288 million Twitter users.” “Google found two accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency which spent a total of $4,700 on its platforms during the 2016 election cycle, it said in a blog post Monday. The company also found 18 YouTube channels it believes were associated with the campaign. These channels uploaded political videos that represented 43 hours of content. They got 309,000 U.S. views from June 2015 to November 2016.” “Facebook also revealed that in the late summer it began to see fake personas being created on the platform by a group linked to a Russian hacking group that has been publicly linked to Russian military intelligence services.” “Those fake personas were being used to “seed stolen information to journalists” and were organized under the banner of a group that called itself DC Leaks, according to the Facebook testimony. The stolen information included information and files stolen by hacking into the email accounts of former White House chief of staff John Podesta’s and the Democratic National Committee.”


[Russian fake accounts showed posts to 126 million Facebook users | USA Today]


In fact, there is a huge push by the Republican leadership to convince the American public that, because all Republicans were united in passing the 2017 tax reform, nothing is wrong, all is well with the United States government, and that the Trump administration has been a great success for America.


Donald Trump: “It’s been an amazing experience, I have to tell you. Hasn’t been done in 34 years, but actually, really hasn’t been done, because we broke every record. It’s the largest – I always say, the most massive – but it’s the largest tax cut in the history of our country – and reform – but tax cut.” “And I have a whole list of accomplishments that the group behind me have done, in terms of this administration and this Congress, but you’ve heard it before.” “This is – this is going to mean companies are going to be coming back. And I campaigned on the fact that we’re not going to lose our companies anymore. They’re going to stay in our country. And they’re going to stay in our country. And you’ve been seeing what’s been happening, even at this prospect. But they have tremendous enthusiasm right now in this country. And we have companies pouring back into our country. And that means jobs, and it means really, the formation of new young, beautiful strong, companies. So that’s going to be very, very important.” “The pass-throughs, you know all about, and the small businesses are going to be big beneficiaries. We are going to be bring at least $4 trillion back into this country – money that was frozen overseas and in parts of the world. And some of them don’t even like us, and they had the money. Well they’re not going to have the money long. And so it’s really – I guess it’s very simple, when you think you haven’t heard this expression, but we are making America great again. You haven’t heard that, have you?” “So maybe what I’ll do – and by the way I mentioned ATT, but many companies have come forward and saying they’re so happy. And they’re going to be doing similar announcements. We’re going to see something that’s going to be very special. We’re bringing the entrepreneur back into this country. We’re getting rid of all the knots and all the ties, and you’re going to see. You’re going to see what happens. And ultimately, what does it mean? It means jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”


Mitch McConnell: “Well, let me just say, Mr. President, you made the case for the tax bill. But this has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration.” “We’ve cemented the Supreme Court right-of-center for a generation.” “You’ve ended the overregulation of the American economy. And that, coupled with what we did last night and what the House finished this morning, means America is going to start growing again.”


Paul Ryan: “Something this big, something this generational, something this profound could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership. Mr. President, thank you for getting us over the finish line. Thank you for getting us where we are.” “I just want to quickly just say a thanks because this has been such a team effort from everybody.” “This is generational. And we’re so excited that we are going to launch, next year, this fantastic tax reform so that the American people can see how we can truly reach our economic growth and our economic potential. And if it weren’t for all the leadership of the men and women up here, this would not have been made possible.” “But lastly, I just want to thank the American people. I want to thank the American people for putting their trust in us, for giving us this chance and this ability to make this moment possible. Thank you very much.”


Mike Pence: “I truly do believe, Mr. President, that this will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the life of our nation, a day when the Congress answered your call and made history.” “But, honestly, I would say to the American people: President Trump has been making history since the first day of this administration.” “President Trump has been restoring American credibility on the world stage, standing with our allies and standing up to our enemies. As the President reflected earlier today, our NATO allies are paying more toward their common defense. North Korea is more isolated than ever before. This President has put Iran on notice, and put the war on Afghanistan on a path to victory. And thanks to the leadership of this Commander-in-Chief and the courage of our armed forces, ISIS is on the run, their capital has fallen, and their so-called caliphate has crumbled across Syria and Iraq.” “But what brings us here today is that President Trump also knows that American strength starts with a growing American economy. And from the first day of this administration, this President championed free and fair trade; he rolled back federal red tape at record levels; we’ve unleashed American energy; and, today, Mr. President, you’ve fulfilled the promise you made to millions of Americans struggling in this economy, to cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses large and small.” “In August of this year, the President laid out his vision for a tax cut that would be a middle-class miracle, and that’s exactly what the Congress passed today.” “I can tell you I serve with him every day. President Donald Trump is a man of his word. He’s a man of action. And with the strong support of these members of Congress, President Donald Trump delivered a great victory for the American people. We made history today.” “But as the President said when we gathered this morning – a few of us, with a few less hours sleep than usual – we’re just getting started. And I can assure you this President and this entire administration will not rest and relent until the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more.” “So thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your love for this country and the people of this country. And I know in my heart, with the strong, continued support of the members of Congress who are gathered on these steps, and with God’s help, you will make America great again.”


[Trump, Congress Celebrate Tax Cut Passage: “Always A Lot Of Fun When You Win” | Video | RealClearPolitics]


Most of these statements are deliberate misdirection aimed at instilling a false sense of security, while also distracting the American public from concentrating on all of the other critical issues that occurred during the last year, as well as on the critically dangerous issues that are currently happening right now at home and abroad.


Much of the mainstream media contributes to this misdirection by repeating it across the country in various ways, conveying this as positive signs that all is well without ever mentioning how and where these statements are false. As a result, other media agencies that do report the truth and break these points down as they should be, are often ignored entirely by millions of people who will only believe what they have heard on other media outlets that will not report this information as fact.


External Threats


Some of the issues that the Republican leadership are primarily ignoring or misdirecting the public about, are critical dangers to the future viability and safety of the United States. Two of the most prominent of these are climate change and nuclear war.


“The report affirms that climate change is driven almost entirely by human action, warns of a worst-case scenario where seas could rise as high as eight feet by the year 2100, and details climate-related damage across the United States that is already unfolding as a result of an average global temperature increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900.” “It affirms that the United States is already experiencing more extreme heat and rainfall events and more large wildfires in the West, that more than 25 coastal U.S. cities are already experiencing more flooding, and that seas could rise by between 1 and 4 feet by the year 2100, and perhaps even more than that if Antarctica proves to be unstable, as is feared. The report says that a rise of over eight feet is “physically possible” with high levels of greenhouse-gas emissions but that there’s no way right now to predict how likely it is to happen.” “When it comes to rapidly escalating levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the report states, “there is no climate analog for this century at any time in at least the last 50 million years.””


“That document, dubbed the Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis, finds that high temperatures could lead to the loss per year of “almost 1.9 billion labor hours across the national workforce” by 2090. That would mean $160 billion annually in lost income to workers. With high levels of warming, coastal property damage in 2090 could total $120 billion annually, and deaths from temperature extremes could reach 9,300 per year, or in monetized terms, $140 billion annually in damage. Additional tens of billions annually could occur in the form of damage to roads, rail lines and electrical infrastructure, the report finds.”


“This could all be lessened considerably, the report notes, if warming is held to lower levels.”


“Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and President Trump have all questioned the extent of humans’ contribution to climate change. One of the EPA’s Web pages posted scientific conclusions similar to those in the new report until earlier this year, when Pruitt’s deputies ordered it removed.” “The report comes as Trump and members of his Cabinet are working to promote U.S. fossil-fuel production and repeal several federal rules aimed at curbing the nation’s carbon output, including ones limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, oil and gas operations on federal land and carbon emissions from cars and trucks. Trump has also announced he will exit the Paris climate agreement, under which the United States has pledged to cut its overall greenhouse-gas emissions between 26 percent and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025.”


“Perhaps no agency under Trump has tried to downplay and undermine climate science more than the EPA. Most recently, political appointees at the EPA instructed two agency scientists and one contractor not to speak as planned at a scientific conference in Rhode Island. The conference marked the culmination of a three-year report on the status of Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary, in which climate change featured prominently.” “The EPA also has altered parts of its website containing detailed climate data and scientific information. As part of that overhaul, in April the agency took down pages that had existed for years and contained a wealth of information on the scientific causes of global warming, its consequences and ways for communities to mitigate or adapt.”


“Other departments have also removed climate-change documents online: The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, for example, no longer provides access to documents assessing the danger that future warming poses to deserts in the Southwest.” “And when U.S. Geological Survey scientists working with international researchers published an article in the journal Nature evaluating how climate change and human population growth would affect where rain-fed agriculture could thrive, the USGS published a news release that omitted the words “climate change” altogether.”


[Trump administration releases report finding ‘no convincing alternative explanation’ for climate change – The Washington Post]


“U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the world’s leaders Tuesday that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War and “fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.”” “In his first state-of-the-world report since taking the reins of the United Nations on Jan. 1, Guterres put “nuclear peril” as the leading threat warning that “we must not sleepwalk our way into war.””


“Beyond the nuclear threat, Guterres painted a grim picture of a troubled world facing grave challenges with many people “hurting and angry” because they “see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing.”” “”Societies are fragmented,” he said. “Political discourse is polarized. Trust within and among countries is being driven down by those who demonize and divide.””


[U.N. chief: Nuclear threat at highest level since Cold War – Chicago Tribune]


“In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump called Jong Un a suicidal “rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the US is “forced to defend itself or its allies.” Jong Un allegedly responded with a written statement, in which he called Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” and said that “a frightened dog barks louder.””


“”Trump is basically creating audience costs for Kim to back down,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told Vox. “If you dare Kim, it creates pressure for him to respond with his own provocation.””


“Yong Ho did not specify where or how high North Korea’s hypothetical Pacific “H-bomb” test might occur. However, the foreign minister did reportedly suggest it could be the most powerful ever detonated in the Pacific.”


“If this is not a matter of imprecise wording, such a blast would exceed the US’ strongest-ever nuclear test explosion.” “On March 1, 1954, the US military set off the “Shrimp” thermonuclear device on a platform in the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands (about 2,300 miles southeast of Japan and 2,700 miles southwest of Hawaii).” “This was part of the US military’s Castle Bravo test series, and the blast was equivalent to exploding 15 million tons of TNT, or roughly 1,000 times as powerful the US attack on Hiroshima that inflicted some 150,000 casualties.” “While the military considered Shrimp and Bravo a success, its repercussions were disastrous. Researchers underestimated the device’s explosive power by nearly three-fold – and many were nearly killed when an artificial earthquake shook their concrete observation bunker 20 miles away.” “Shrimp’s four-mile-wide fireball destroyed about 200 billion tons of Bikini Atoll coral reef, turning much of it into radioactive fallout that spread all over the world. The worst of it sprinkled over atolls to the east, killing many people by causing radiation sickness.” “Today, the 250-foot-deep, 1-mile-wide crater left by the blast is visible from space.”


[What could happen if North Korea blows up a hydrogen bomb in the ocean – Business Insider]


“Still, 14,900 nuclear weapons exist, and even a local nuclear war could have worldwide effects. All nuclear powers, the U.S., the UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, possess small atomic bombs, delivered to the target by airplane or missiles. Such tactical nuclear weapons, involving short to intermediate range low-yield devices, are designed for use in sea battles, to clean difficult terrain or to level urbanized areas. One such bomb can ignite an industrial area, causing firestorms that last for days, several such bombs can set a large city burning. The detonation of just one warhead, with the destructive power of 150,000 tons of TNT would still burn 500 square miles of a city.”


“A local, land-based nuclear war, including the hypothetical use of 50 to 100 such tactical bombs, would send five to 6 million tons of dust, ash and soot from the fires into the atmosphere. Rising into higher layers, this smoke would effectively reduce solar radiation on Earth, causing an “atomic autumn.” Temperatures would slightly drop for a quarter of a century, reducing the growing season of plants by between 10 to 40 days. Reduce crop production could lead to widespread famine in an already struggling world. Changes in temperatures also cause a shift in weather patterns. The precipitation during the monsoon, providing rain for millions of people in Asia, could decrease as much as 20% to 80%. As such large circulation patterns as the monsoon have global effects, also Africa, Australia and the Americas could become drier. Estimated 1 to 2 billion people could face starvation, as much victims as a global nuclear war would claim. Unrest quickly would spread, followed by further conflicts over the limited resources.”


“This grim scenario is not too far-fetched, something similar already happened in the past. The Little Ice Age, or LIA, was a period of weather extremes in Europe from 1300 to 1850. Exceptionally hard winters and cool summers caused crop failures all over Europe, resulting in widespread famine. Starving and desperate peasants revolted, and Europe plunged into chaos and war. At the same time, in Indonesia droughts caused rice harvests to fail, also Africa faced a series of devastating droughts in 1640 to 1644. In China floods and droughts caused bread to become so expensive, that even soldiers revolted. ” Winter Counts” by native Americans suggest hard and long winters were common during the 17th and 18th century in North America.”


“The exact causes of the chaotic weather during the Little Ice Age are unknown. Likely a series of volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, Iceland or Central America, injecting large quantities of volcanic ash into the atmosphere, disrupted the atmospheric circulation at the beginning of the 13th century. The mechanisms behind a nuclear winter and the cooling effect of a volcanic eruption are very similar. Volcanic ash and chemical compounds, trapped in the higher layers of the atmosphere for years, reflect and adsorb the solar radiation, cooling Earth’s surface. The Little Ice Age is an extreme scenario, as it lasted for several centuries and was caused by a long series of volcanic eruptions. However, single, less powerful eruptions still had effects on climate and society. Worldwide temperatures dropped by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit following the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. The 1815 eruption of Tambora was followed in 1816 by “the Year without a summer.” In North America frost and snow devastated New England crops, the resulting famine is remembered as “eighteen hundred and froze to death.””


[Even A Small Nuclear War Would Still Have Effects On Global Scale]


Who Cares


Most people who do care concentrate on one or a few of these issues, but are not aware of, or have limited knowledge of the remaining issues, and thus see only a fraction of the total at one time. This is problematic, because they are often missing critical information to connect the various pieces of information so that it makes a coherent and logical pattern.


Most others however, have difficulty wrapping their brains around so much duplicity where crimes are perpetrated in terms of nations; not individuals, or they don’t understand the technologies involved in the crimes, or they cannot conceive of any way they can change or impact the occurrence of a particular event personally. So typically, at this point, they typically flip the channel to a favorite sitcom, reality TV or game show, sports or car racing channel, a movie, or they switch to playing a video game or watching YouTube videos of people or animals doing stupid things, and then simply ignore every disturbing thing that they just heard. This happens quite often, because these things are supposed to be somebody else’s problem.


In this case, ‘somebody else’s problem’ refers to our government officials. In America, we elect government leaders specifically so they can be the ones to handle all of these things for us, so we as citizens don’t have to. This is necessary, because the majority of Americans have enough things to deal with, including working full time to pay the bills, taking care of the children and other family members, going to school, and everything else that fits into the daily life of a typical American. None of which includes having to make foreign policy decisions, economic policies, government budgets, and so on.


As such, our elected officials are supposed to be assisting us by enacting policies that aid our health and prosperity, providing needed public services for education and other services, protecting the environments that we live and work in so that we can be safe and productive members of society, keeping our environments safe from crime, protecting us from hostile countries while working diplomatically with allies to strengthen global relationships, enhancing our economy without doing anything rash to harm it, and everything else that keeps things moving forward in a positive direction so we can feel secure and proud of what we have accomplished as a country.


Obviously, only the best, the most knowledgeable, the most qualified, and the most honorable people should then be trusted with these positions of power to ensure that these critical functions are accomplished ethically and without bias for the mutual benefit of all people in our society.


Well, shouldn’t they?


“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Albert Einstein


A Solution Found to Prevent Chronic Sinusitis Infections without Antibiotics

This is an odd subject for me to write about, but one that I’ve been intimately familiar with for many years, and I’ve recently discovered a solution for preventing this condition that does not involve antibiotics. This works for me, and it is possible that this information may be helpful to others as well, so I thought it would be beneficial to document this.


I’m referring to a condition called chronic rhinosinusitis, or chronic sinusitis. In my case, this specifically relates to the development of seemingly unavoidable life-threatening infections that require the recurrent use of antibiotics to address.


I have been fighting with this condition for over twenty years, and have seen numerous doctors and specialists regarding this, and nobody could recommend a workable solution to prevent the recurring infections that have plagued me every four to eight weeks during that time. I discovered early on that these were life threatening infections if left untreated by antibiotics, when I almost died from one such in 2001 and in 2006. This was a double-edged sword however, because the continual use of these antibiotics made the condition increasingly difficult to treat as my resistance to most relevant antibiotics grew. So much so that by the end of 2016, I found myself in an equally precarious situation where these recurring infections were not responding to multiple courses of differing antibiotics and Prednisone in succession, and fewer options remained each time.


The form of chronic sinusitis that affected me was one of the more difficult types caused by uncontrollable bacterial infections trapped specifically within encapsulated sinuses, aggravated by pathway differences in my anatomy due to prior injury that doctors could not accurately map or diagnose. As a result, I was told that surgery was not an option, and the only preventative solution I was ever given by medical professionals was to irrigate the area regularly; which I was already doing. So, by the end of 2016, when most antibiotics stopped working for me, I was somewhat desperate to find an alternative solution. My initial research was not encouraging however. I had no idea that chronic sinusitis was such a widespread condition.


According to the CDC, 29.4 million people in the United States were diagnosed with Chronic Sinusitis in 2015, roughly 12.1% of the country’s population. [1] The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) reported in 2016 that the annual costs associated with chronic sinusitis accounted for approximately 5% of the annual U.S. health care budget: “For 2011, this resulted in an expenditure of $60.2 to 64.5 billion USD for the treatment of patients with CRS”, and “The authors showed that this complex chronic inflammatory disease has an economic burden that continues to rise substantially”. [2]


My personal experiences with medical diagnosis and treatment were accurately reflected in the article titled Treatment Options for Chronic Sinusitis by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center published in 2009: “Sinusitis is the most common chronic condition for which patients seek treatment.” “Sinusitis — both acute and chronic — is typically diagnosed based on a physical exam and symptoms. Although this does not confirm a diagnosis and whether the infection is bacterial, antibiotics are commonly prescribed.” “For chronic sinusitis, patients are typically prescribed a minimum of three weeks of antibiotics.” “Prednisone is most commonly used as an adjunctive treatment to antibiotics.” [3]


Also, my personal experience with increasing antibiotic resistance was reflected in the 2015 report titled The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis by the US National Library of Medicine: “The rapid emergence of resistant bacteria is occurring worldwide, endangering the efficacy of antibiotics, which have transformed medicine and saved millions of lives. The antibiotic resistance crisis has been attributed to the overuse and misuse of these medications, as well as a lack of new drug development by the pharmaceutical industry due to reduced economic incentives and challenging regulatory requirements.” [4]


Another report also stated that the farming industry is contributing heavily to the increase of antibiotic resistance, in a report titled The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals Threatens Public Health by the Consumers Union: “According to the federal Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance, ‘the extensive use of antimicrobial drugs has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse the medical advances of the last seventy years.'” “Approximately 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in meat and poultry production.” “The National Research Council (part of the National Academy of Sciences) concluded that “a link can be demonstrated between the use of antibiotics in food animals, the development of resistant microorganisms in those animals, and the zoonotic spread of pathogens to humans.” “Most recently in 2012, the FDA stated ‘Misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs creates selective evolutionary pressure that enables antimicrobial resistant bacteria to increase in numbers more rapidly than antimicrobial susceptible bacteria and thus increases the opportunity for individuals to become infected by resistant bacteria.'” “The meat and poultry production industry argues, however, that there is no harm in this.” [5]


So, from this information I could only conclude that my condition was unpreventable and incurable, and that my situation would get progressively worse and my options more limited as my resistance to antibiotics increased. This appeared to be the only path open to me according to conventional methods, which is the same path that I had been traversing for the last twenty years as directed by my medical team. It seemed clear to me however, that there would be an inevitable dead-end at some point in my future if I didn’t find a way to change it.


Lacking other options, I began researching natural and unconventional remedies hoping that I could find something that would help my situation. This came with its own peril by adding an extra layer of risk though. In 2010, part of a metal implant broke through the skin within the same area, and for a variety of reasons it could not be fixed. So, if I chose the wrong alternative remedy to experiment with, it was possible that I could inadvertently trigger a critical blood or bone infection to occur instead.


To make a long story short, I did eventually locate a remedy that has completely and dramatically decreased my chronic sinusitis by preventing the recurrence of infection without requiring the use of antibiotics. Moreover, no infections have occurred where the implant has broken through the skin either, which is a good indication of its safety. As it currently stands, I have not had any infections since I began doing this each day since January 2017, which is the longest stretch of time that I have not required the use of antibiotics to address an infection since my initial injury in 1994.


Since I am not a medical professional, I can only speak personally about my own situation and experiences, and have documented the steps that I took to solve my own condition of chronic sinusitis infections without the use of antibiotics. Possibly this information will be useful to others as well.


Sinus Biology


It was important for me to first understand how the biological pieces fit together.


Sinus Anatomy: “The pink membranes lining the sinuses make mucus that is cleared out of the sinus cavities and drains into the nasal passage. The right and left nasal passages are separated in the middle by a vertical plate of cartilage and bone called the nasal septum. The sidewall of each nasal passage is lined by three ridges of tissue, and each of these is called a turbinate or concha. Specifically they are designated as inferior, middle, or superior depending on whether one is referring to the lower, middle, or upper structure.” “Most of the sinuses drain from underneath the middle turbinate, into a region called the osteomeatal complex. When air flows through the nasal passage on each side, it streams through the crevices between the nasal septum and these turbinates. Both airflow and mucus ends up in a part of the throat called the nasopharynx (the very back of the nose, where it meets the rest of the mouth and throat). Air is then breathed into the windpipe and lungs, while the mucus is swallowed.” “Tear duct (called the nasolacrimal duct): drains tears from the inside corner of the eye into the nasal cavity. Eustachian tube: this is the tube responsible for clearing air pressure in the ears; it opens into the back of the sidewall of the nasopharynx.” (American Rhinologic Society) [6]


Chronic Infections


It was equally important for me to understand how chronic sinus infections generally occur.


Sinusitis – In-Depth Report: “Healthy sinuses are sterile and contain no bacteria. (The nasal passage, on the other hand, normally contains many bacteria.)” “The Disease Process. Sinusitis is an infection that occurs if obstruction or congestion leads to bacterial growth in the paranasal sinuses. Among the many causes of such obstruction or congestion are the common cold, allergies, certain medical conditions, abnormalities in the nasal passage, and change in atmosphere. In any of these cases, sinusitis can develop as follows: (1) Mucus drainage and airflow are blocked. (2) Secretions build up, encouraging the growth of certain bacteria. (3) The resulting infection, swelling, and inflammation create further blockage, which may cause the sinuses to close up completely.” (NY Times Health) [7]


I also learned that these Secretions are called ‘biofilms’, and they play a critical role in the development of chronic sinus infections.


The role of bacterial biofilms in chronic infections: “Acute infections caused by pathogenic bacteria have been studied extensively for well over 100 years. These infections killed millions of people in previous centuries, but they have been combated effectively by the development of modern vaccines, antibiotics and infection control measures. Most research into bacterial pathogenesis has focused on acute infections, but these diseases have now been supplemented by a new category of chronic infections caused by bacteria growing in slime-enclosed aggregates known as biofilms. Biofilm infections, such as pneumonia in cystic fibrosis patients, chronic wounds, chronic otitis media and implant- and catheter-associated infections, affect millions of people in the developed world each year and many deaths occur as a consequence.” “The important hallmarks of chronic biofilm-based infections are extreme resistance to antibiotics and many other conventional antimicrobial agents, and an extreme capacity for evading the host defenses.” (PubMed – NCBI, US National Library of Medicine) [8]


General Plan


Since these details fit my situation, I believed the following plan should prevent the cycle from continuing without the need of antibiotics.


  • (1) Break down the biofilm that is present in the area.
  • (2) Eradicate any harmful bacteria exposed in the area.
  • (3) Repeat on a daily schedule to prevent biofilm or bacteria from achieving critical mass.


Baby Shampoo


After reading further about biofilms, I learned that it was already proven through experimental medical studies that common baby shampoo rinsing was an effective method for breaking down biofilms within sinuses.


New ways to flush out sinus infections: “The concept behind baby shampoo irrigation is cleansing the naval cavity with a surfactant. By doing this, the biofilms, or oily layers that bad bacteria create to protect itself from irrigation, are broken down.” (Baylor College of Medicine | Houston, Texas) [9]


It seemed logical that choosing a baby shampoo product with the least amount of synthetic chemicals and the most amount of natural ingredients possible would likely be the safest to use for this purpose, so I settled on a product called Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash (by Burt’s Bees) [10].


Garlic Extract


As it turns out, there are quite a few natural herbs that include antibacterial properties, but garlic is one of the strongest, and it effectively kills microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses while at the same time strengthening the immune system. Moreover, this has been proven by modern scientific studies many times.


Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic.: “Allicin, one of the active principles of freshly crushed garlic homogenates, has a variety of antimicrobial activities. Allicin in its pure form was found to exhibit i) antibacterial activity against a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including multidrug-resistant enterotoxicogenic strains of Escherichia coli; ii) antifungal activity, particularly against Candida albicans; iii) antiparasitic activity, including some major human intestinal protozoan parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia; and iv) antiviral activity. The main antimicrobial effect of allicin is due to its chemical reaction with thiol groups of various enzymes, e.g. alcohol dehydrogenase, thioredoxin reductase, and RNA polymerase, which can affect essential metabolism of cysteine proteinase activity involved in the virulence of E. histolytica.” (PubMed – NCBI, US National Library of Medicine) [11]


Extracts from the history and medical properties of garlic: “People learned that by distillation with water vapor, garlic yields etheric oil with its characteristic sharp smell. The examination of the chemical content of that oil commenced in 1844. In 1892 and later, it was confirmed that garlic consists of several aliphatic unsaturated sulfur compounds. As late as in 1944, the oily, colorless, unstable substance called allicin was isolated from garlic by Cavallito and Bailey. Later it was established that allicin has strong bactericide power. Even in dilution 1 : 85000 to 1 : 250000, allicin showed antibacterial activity against certain gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.” “The action of garlic is manifold. Because of allicin and other sulfur compounds, garlic has antibiotic, antibacterial and antimycotic action, which has been testified by in vitro studies.” (PubMed – NCBI, US National Library of Medicine) [12]


There are many commercial products that include garlic extract, but I wanted to make sure I chose one that included only garlic extract in its most concentrated form, possessed all these antibacterial and antiviral properties, and could be easily dissolved into water. I chose Allicidin (by Premier Research Labs) [13], which fulfilled all these requirements.


Sinus Rinse


So, my plan was to first apply the baby shampoo rinse to break down the biofilm, then follow with a diluted garlic extract rinse to eradicate the buildup of pathogens, then follow with a general rinse to wash things out afterwards, and perform this ritual once each day to see what happened.


For the nasal rinse procedure, I chose a product called NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit [14], which is accompanied by rinse packets that consist of a combination of salt and baking soda. This small combination of salt and baking soda when mixed into the water prevents the burning sensation that occurs when water is injected into the back of the nasal passages, which makes the experience more comfortable.


Materials and Quantities


  • One NeilMed squeeze bottle.
  • One half teaspoon Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo.
  • One Allicidin garlic capsule.
  • Two or Three sinus rinse packets depending.
  • Lukewarm filtered water.


Rinse Directions


  • (1) Add 1/2 teaspoon baby shampoo to water in a cup, plus 1 sinus rinse packet if desired to prevent slight burning when applied, then mix until slightly sudsy.
  • (2) Add solution to the squeeze bottle and apply as directed for use until the bottle is empty, then wash the soap solution out of the bottle and cup when finished until both are clean.
  • (3) Open and empty the contents of 1 Allicidin garlic capsule into the cup, plus 1 sinus rinse packet, plus water, then mix until all particles are dissolved. (Don’t include the empty garlic capsule in the solution.)
  • (4) Add new solution to the squeeze bottle and apply as directed for use until the bottle is empty.
  • (5) Open 1 sinus rinse packet into empty cup plus water, then mix until all particles are dissolved.
  • (6) Add new solution to the squeeze bottle and apply as directed for use until the bottle is empty.


Concluding Remarks


The remedy worked and continues to do so. The addition of the garlic extract rinse after the baby shampoo rinse appears to increase the process of breaking down the biofilm as well, and the once daily repetition has successfully prevented the accumulation of dangerous pathogens so that no infections have occurred since the end of 2016 when I began doing this. As I mentioned before, this is the longest stretch of time that I have not required the use of antibiotics to address an infection since my injury in 1994, despite the exposed metal from an implant that has remained the same since 2010.


I have attempted many times to locate recommendations from modern medical professionals that discuss how to accomplish the same thing for those suffering from chronic sinusitis, with limited success. Though I have found some recommendations for one or the other individually, I found none that specifically addressed the task of nullifying both biofilm and pathogens simultaneously for greatest effect. In contrast, the most common treatment according to medical professionals is still the use of antibiotics as a preventative measure. This seems counterproductive to my situation and as a global policy because the ever-increasing resistance to antibiotics is fast becoming a global risk, and the populations where preventative treatment is applicable is huge.


It is also greatly disturbing that antibiotics are so freely used in farming, when the arguments to justify this are so clearly weak and based on falsehoods. Hopefully this will be addressed before antibiotics are rendered completely ineffective in fighting common diseases as a result. Time will tell. Unfortunately, in many cases from what I’ve observed, it appears that business interests are commonly given higher regard than the future security of humanity by those in power.




Complex Cooking Is Now Accessible for the Blind Using Bluetooth

Typically I’m well known for ripping products apart, but not really for endorsing a product due to the amazing level of its accessibility. Since this subject is so important though, I thought this would be a needed exception. It’s called the Bluetooth Enabled Instant Pot.


First, food is one of those things that is so obviously, part of our daily existence that we overlook certain aspects of it regularly. We need it to survive, therefore cooking is an activity that is a critical part of our lives in one way or another. This also presents important challenges for people with disabilities.


For the last twenty years I’ve avoided cooking for these reasons. Due to the severity of my injuries when I was 14, I didn’t just lose my sight, but I also lost my sense of smell, and much of my ability to distinguish tastes. So in regard to cooking, I couldn’t see when food was cooking or where it was located, I couldn’t smell when it began to burn, and I couldn’t reliably taste when it was supposed to be done cooking. Also, cooking can be physically dangerous, and the idea of damaging my hands which I need for sight and to remain employed seemed like another risk that detracted from its appeal.


So, while at the 2017 CSUN Conference in March, a friend was telling my wife and I about this kitchen appliance she really liked since it was a combination crockpot and pressure cooker that could be programmed.


This last part perked my interest a bit, ‘programmed’ sounded pretty cool to me, though the pressure cooker not so much. I’ve been uneasy about having a pressure cooker in our house for years. Years ago, we had one explode in our kitchen with such force that it bent the lid like a fortune cookie and with such violence that it embedded pieces of meat in the wall and ceiling while causing other bits to ricochet around the corners into other rooms. The blast shook the house like a bomb exploded. My wife was standing 2 feet away from it when it went off, but not a drop of it touched her, which I still think is a miracle. Nevertheless, I have never trusted pressure cookers since then.


So, after we got back we did a bit of research and learned some interesting details about this weird gadget. First it has ten built in redundant safety features that make it impossible to explode in the same manner as our last one did, and the other part was that it was Bluetooth enabled so it could be controlled through an iPhone app. That really got my attention. For years, I’ve been saying that general household appliances don’t need to be custom built with text-to-speech features if they include a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi API that can be tapped into using an app on a mobile device like an iPhone, because VoiceOver is already accessible on these devices already. So, we took the plunge and ordered one on Amazon.


The setup for this thing is incredibly easy. First I installed the app on my iPhone, then plugged in the pot. Then I tapped the ‘Pot Unknown’ button then ‘Add’ within the app to pair the devices, which then prompts you to hold down the Adjust button on the cooker for three seconds until the devices finish pairing. This button on the cooker is the second button up from the bottom right of the display panel. The cooker will beep when the paring completes.


When the lid is placed into the grooves of the pot, a series of tones are played to notify you that the lid is placed correctly, then you turn the lid clockwise to lock it into place, at which point another series of tones is played to let you know that it is locked in place correctly. This is very helpful, especially if you are blind.


Then I opened the app and started playing with it. This is the incredible part, everything about the cooker is accessible through the app! Everything from setting it to use the slow cooker or the pressure cooker, whether you choose cooking options for the type of food in the cooker such as steaming, sautéing, and so on, the pressure levels, the timing options, as well as programming schedules for more complex recipes. As it cooks the current temperature is automatically updated, as is the current pressure level within the pot, as well as the timing countdown and other stats associated with the settings. When the cooking completes the cooker makes a series of beeps to let you know that it is finished and just needs to cool off, and the app shows what the temperature and pressure levels are as it does this so you know not to open it too soon, which isn’t possible anyway because the lid locks to prevent accidental opening when the pressure is too high. It will even adjust the cooking processes automatically to account for your current elevation using the GPS on your phone, how cool is that?!


Cooking with this thing feels just like programming to me, which is totally awesome and appeals to the way my brain works. All I need do is set up the pieces and ingredients according to the recipe, put them in as directed, program the settings as indicated in the recipe then tap the Start button to begin the cooking process. Then it’s just a matter of letting the cooker do its own thing until it tells me it’s done.


I started with something simple, steamed potatoes, which sounds stupid but I’ve never done this before. You simply add some seasoning if you wish like a couple of hot peppers or spices for seasoning, put the grate into the pot over this, add water up to where the grate begins, pile in washed and scrubbed potatoes, put on and lock the lid, then open the iPhone app and tap the Steam button, set the duration for 10 minutes for small potatoes or 13 if larger ones, leave the pressure set for High, set mode to Normal, then tap the Start button. That’s it, they turned out perfectly!


I’ve successfully done other things too, and plan to do a lot more experimentation from now on, but I wanted to publish this in case this information is helpful to others. Complex cooking really is now accessible to the blind, which I can personally attest to.


One last important detail for those who are non-sighted, when the lid is closed and the display panel is facing you, you will notice a wiggly spout-like thingy on the lid directly opposite from you. This is the pressure release valve. So, when you want to use the pressure cooker, you will need to push the valve away from you so it is pointing to the left, which will close the valve so that pressure can build up for the cooking process. When using the slow cooker however, you need to turn the valve so that the spout is pointing towards the handle in the center of the lid, which will keep the valve open so pressure cannot build up in the cooker.


Below is a collection of the sites I’ve been using to get recipe ideas for use with the Bluetooth Enabled Instant Pot, though there are lots of others when Googling “Instant Pot Recipes”.



In the future, as I get better at documenting accessible recipes, I’ll publish these on the blog at if anyone is interested.


Happy cooking,


[Letter to the President] The Great Depression and today’s working class, poor, disabled, elderly, and retired populations


From: Bryan Garaventa [] Sent: Monday, December 05, 2016 2:35 AM To: ‘’ <>; ‘’ <> Subject: The Great Depression and today’s working class, poor, disabled, elderly, and retired populations


Dear President Obama,


All throughout the lead up to the election of Donald Trump, the overriding message that was pushed constantly and without fail was that this was all being done for the benefit of the working class, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the under-represented amongst us. He was only doing this for the people, to “take our country back” from the obviously corrupt politicians, to stick it to the establishment, to “make America great again”. This would restore lost jobs, would introduce more competitive and advantageous wages, would give more control to these millions in regard to achieving long-term personal savings and better qualities of life for all.


Unfortunately the complete opposite appears to be true, which is becoming much clearer.


““The Trump tax plan is heavily, heavily, skewed to the most wealthy, who will receive huge savings,” said Lily Batchelder, a law professor and tax expert at New York University. “At the same time, millions of low-income families – particularly single-parent households – will face an increase.””

“Minority families are set to suffer disproportionately from the tax increases, according to Batchelder. With 32% of African American families facing a tax increase compared with 19% of whites, this is mostly due to African American families being more likely to share the burden of childcare within the family and hence not benefit as much from Trump childcare credits. Batchelder said the effective tax increase for many millions of families would run into the thousands.”

“While the poor will face tax increases, the Tax Policy Center research said the rich would receive big tax cuts that get even bigger as you work up the income scale. The top 20% of earners would receive an average annual tax cut of $16,660 compared with an overall average cut of $2,940.”

“The richest 1% will collect 47% of all the tax cuts – an average saving of $214,000.”

“Gardner said that under Trump, America will become even more divided between the rich and poor. “America is already very unequal, and his proposals would make income inequality a lot worse,” Gardner said.”

Trump’s tax plan: massive cuts for the 1% will usher ‘era of dynastic wealth’ | US news | The Guardian


Equally important, this doesn’t just negatively impact the incomes for the majority of the United States population, but it also directly affects the infrastructure and overall economy for the country.


“But then there are the tax cuts. In the simplest math of fiscal policy, lower taxes plus more spending equal higher budget deficits. Mr. Trump resorted to vague hand-waving about any spending cuts to offset those changes, promising instead that faster growth would prevent the deficit from rising.”

“Most hardheaded analysis – including from those sympathetic ideologically – suggests this is wrong. The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation, for example, estimates that Mr. Trump’s tax plan would reduce federal revenue by about $12 trillion over the next decade, and faster growth would offset only about $2 trillion of that.”

The Trump Administration Could Test Whether Deficits Help the Economy – The New York Times


Such policies would divert billions into the personal and business bank accounts of the top 1% of wealthiest individuals and out of the general circulation for the majority of the country, and would also defund the majority of public services to those in need across all sectors such as finance, food, and healthcare services. This will negatively affect all people such as the unemployed, plus those on fixed incomes such as the disabled, the elderly, and all those on fixed retirement incomes; who will see needed services disappear, costs rise, and wages decrease.


The following illustrates the income divide between the rich and poor that currently exists in American society.


“The average American believes that the richest fifth own 59% of the wealth and that the bottom 40% own 9%. The reality  is strikingly different. The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.”

Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think – Scientific American


To rephrase this for clarity, there are at present approximately 323,995,528 people in the United States, and the Walton family alone owns more wealth in the United States than the combined savings of 136,078,121 people within this population.


The policies of Donald Trump and the GOP are guaranteed to tilt this balance even further so that even more of the country’s wealth is diverted into the ownership of the super-rich, thus removing it from circulation within the remainder of the country for critical services that keep our country running.


The idea being pushed by Donald Trump and the GOP that this is preferable because wealth can then trickle down as needed into society is completely false. Wealthy individuals don’t ever decide to fund police departments to keep the peace, to fund public schools for better education across the country, to fund maintenance for the electric grid for all of our technologies, to fund healthcare facilities for those in need, to fund new research into medical treatments and technological advancements, nor any of the other countless projects that require Federal and State funding to achieve. 99% of wealthy individuals horde their wealth and will not give it away just because they have it.


Another critical aspect of what is being aggressively pushed by the GOP is widespread deregulation across all private sectors to make it easier for businesses to make additional corporate profits at the expense of the people.


The following illustrates what is planned just for the banking system.


Donald Trump states: “One of the keys to unlocking growth is scaling back years of disastrous regulations unilaterally imposed by our out-of-control bureaucracy. Regulations have grown into a massive, job-killing industry – and the regulation industry is one business I will put an end to.” “I’ve proposed a moratorium on new federal regulations that are not compelled by Congress or public safety, and I will eliminate all needless and job-killing regulations now on the books.”

“The House Republican proposal also features a clever idea to help ensure that Trump’s regulatory freeze could outlast his term in office. It does this by essentially inverting the normal order of operations in the American regulatory process.”

Donald Trump’s administration is going to be a bonanza for bankers – Vox


“President-elect Trump said throughout his campaign he would oppose financial regulations and in May said he would repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, which was passed in the wake of the financial crisis and empowered federal regulatory agencies to restrict banks’ ability to make risky investments.”

“Hufeld also warned that a loosening or scrapping of existing laws would lead to a new financial crisis.”

German watchdog warns against financial deregulation after Trump win | Reuters


Additionally, with his pick to lead the EPA, Donald Trump has already made it clear that corporate profits are more important than climate change research and environmental protection policy.


Interesting enough, all of these things were done once before when Republicans held the majority in both the House and Senate with a Republican president. This was in the 1920’s, just before the total collapse of the United States economy during the Great Depression.


“Throughout the 1920s, Congress was focused on slashing taxes on the wealthy and eliminating business regulations, arguing that a free market could govern itself and that a rising tide would lift all boats.”

“The results were devastating: Wall Street ran amuck, resulting in the 1929 stock market crash.  Wealth became highly concentrated at the top, leaving everyday consumers with too few resources to fuel a meaningful post-crash recovery.  Industrial pollution began accelerating, setting the stage for an era of smog and even flammable rivers.”

Radical Deregulation Won’t Bring Real Growth | The Huffington Post


Nor have these connections been lost on economic forecasters, who are making plans and advising followers to prepare for the worst.


““Housing prices will start to fall by as much as 40% over several years… unemployment will surge… many state and municipal governments will be forced into default…and the federal deficit will balloon to as high as $1.5 to $2 trillion,” warns Dent.”

“We are approaching what he terms “The Greater Depression”, and the coming months look bleak: “The recession is NOT over yet. $100 trillion of the $225 trillion in loans, bonds and stocks across the world…will simply disappear.””

Critical Warning from Rogue Economist Harry Dent: “This is Just the Beginning of a Nightmare Scenario as Dow Crashes to 6,000” | Economy and Markets


Sadly enough, it has become painfully clear that Donald Trump and the GOP are no friends to the general working class, the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly, fixed income retirees, nor to the future health and wellbeing of our children.


Moreover, it has also become painfully clear that those in the GOP who have the power to build our country instead of break it, will not hear, will not see, will not listen; they refuse to understand, and they refuse to care.


“For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.”

“Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it.”

“To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.”

This is the most dangerous time for our planet | Stephen Hawking | Opinion | The Guardian



Bryan Garaventa

Founder of WhatSock, Accessibility Fellow at SSB, Research Developer (W3C ARIA WG; ISOC; FRSA)

Fascism and Trump: The Most Corrupt Election in American History


I wrote this because I have grave concerns regarding the recent rise of Fascism in our society, and to express concerns not just for the future Democracy of America but also for that of Europe.


It’s become increasingly clear that these sentiments are growing, and as with the recent election of Donald Trump, the demographic of allied nations is also at play where the Americas are now increasingly leaning towards Russia, or more accurately being pushed that way. This is deeply worrying, because similar radical sentiment in Europe is using this as a model to emulate, specifically France, Slovakia, amongst others.


My fear is that Fascism is regaining a foothold in our societies, and the inevitable results of where this will lead us, as history has shown.


I wrote the below article in the hope that it will shed some light on the dangers of this, and to expose corruptions in our own electoral system that appear to be under-reported in the mainstream media. This by itself is deeply concerning.


Especially that, according to the Dworkin Report, Donald Trump provably has registered over 250 businesses in Russia, and has travelled there on multiple occasions, but nobody seems to be focusing on this as relevant even though it directly effects all trade negotiations and conflicts of interest; not to mention all lies by Trump to the contrary.


The path where this is leading us is quite clear, and the Electoral College must be duty-bound to consider the consequences of this information, or threaten the future of our Democracy.


Kind regards,

Bryan Garaventa (FRSA)


Fascism and Trump: The Most Corrupt Election in American History


This election cycle has been so contentious, so divisive, so filled with misinformation that most people in our country voted out of a sense of disgust and not in support of our country as a whole.


So regarding our main internal issues including economic disparities between the rich and the poor, fears of terrorists invading the country, illegal migrants taking away jobs and using free services and causing problems, industries having trouble maintaining work in a global economy, rising violence in our country between racial divides, amongst others, these are all valid concerns and issues that our country needs to work on and correct.


Taking a step back however, this election itself has been plagued with such a monumental level of corruption that its like has literally never been seen before in the history of American politics.


First we were inundated with hate propaganda that has been so liberally spread across all social media sites for so long that millions of people didn’t even know what the truth actually was any longer.


“Rather than connecting people – as Facebook’s euphoric mission statement claims – the bitter polarization of the social network over the last eighteen months suggests Facebook is actually doing more to divide the world.”

Facebook’s failure: did fake news and polarized politics get Trump elected? | Technology | The Guardian:


At the same time we received so many mixed messages from Trump that we still don’t know what the truth actually is:


“The Republican nominee changes his mind so frequently and so dramatically that a compilation of his current policies would not tell the whole story, nor would it be up to date for very long — he once offered up three different views on abortion in eight hours. By mixing facts with exaggerations and outright falsehoods while simultaneously refusing to offer specifics – insisting that unpredictability is an advantage he’ll use to cut better deals – Trump and the Republican Party that’s nominated him are putting forward the most elusive presidential platform in modern history.”

A Full List of Donald Trump’s Rapidly Changing Policy Positions – NBC News:


Also, the Democratic campaign was deliberately targeted by WikiLeaks by releasing key information designed to cripple her chances of winning the election that was provably traced to Russia as the provider.


“U.S. intelligence officials concluded weeks ago that the Russian government was conducting or orchestrating cyber attacks against the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, possibly to disrupt or discredit the election, in which Democrat Hillary Clinton faces Republican Donald Trump.”

U.S. formally accuses Russian hackers of political cyber attacks | Reuters:


Meanwhile, known leaders from Dictatorships and radical politicians around the world publically endorsed Donald Trump as the best person to run America’s Democracy, including Vladimir Putin, Geert Wilders, Matteo Salvini, Kim Jong Un, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orban, and Robert Mugabe.

Which world leaders support Donald Trump? – Business Insider:


“There are some common themes here. The less committed a U.S. ally is to liberal democracy, and the more hostile to immigrants, the more likely its government is to favor Trump. Allies uncomfortable with subtlety in U.S. diplomacy – whether it is support for human rights in pro-U.S. dictatorships, or a Palestinian state, or outreach to Iran – tend to see Trump as refreshingly one-sided.”

The foreign leaders who are rooting for Trump – The Washington Post:


Whenever Trump was pressed about his ties to such political leaders, he denied them while at the same time praising them as being good leaders.


“A key figure at the Republican national convention where Donald Trump was nominated for president has strong business ties with Ukraine, the Guardian has learned.”

“The party platform, written at the convention in Cleveland last week, removed references to arming Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russia rebels, who have received material support from the Kremlin.”

“The coordinator of the Washington diplomatic corps for the Republicans in Cleveland was Frank Mermoud, a former state department official involved in business ventures in Ukraine via Cub Energy, a Black Sea-focused oil and gas company of which he is a director. He is also on the board of the US Ukraine Business Council.”

“Mermoud has longstanding ties to Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who in 2010 helped pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych refashion his image and win a presidential election in Ukraine. Manafort was brought in earlier this year to oversee the convention operations and its staffing.”

Donald Trump and Russia: a web that grows more tangled all the time | US news | The Guardian:


“Suspicion is mounting about Donald Trump’s ties to Russian officials and business interests, as well as possible links between his campaign and the Russian hacking of U.S. political organizations. But GOP leaders have refused to support efforts by Democrats to investigate any possible Trump-Russia connections, which have been raised in news reports and closed-door intelligence briefings. And without their support, Democrats, as the minority in both chambers of Congress, cannot issue subpoenas to potential witnesses and have less leverage to probe Trump.”

“Trump has made no secret of his affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin and came to his defense in the first presidential debate this week when he dismissed the assertion that Russian government hackers were behind intrusions at the Democratic National Committee. Although it’s practically the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community that the Kremlin is seeking to undermine the presidential election through cyberattacks and leaks, Trump said, “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China, it could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds, OK?””

GOP Blocks Probes Into Trump-Russia Ties – The Daily Beast:


“The Republican presidential nominee told the forum the Russian president “has been a leader far more than our president [Obama] has been”.”

Trump says Putin ‘a leader far more than our president’ – BBC News:


“The campaign denied a Slate report that said activity on an organization server indicated ‘sustained relationship’ with Russia’s largest private commercial bank”

Trump campaign denies report of Trump Organization tie to Russian bank | US news | The Guardian:


Despite all of these negative signs, we are seeing the fascist policy proposals now emerging, which will plague our country and world relations for many years if they come to be enacted.


One such is the Un-American Activities Committee:


“Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is calling for the creation of a new House Committee on Un-American Activities, invoking the infamous “Red Scare”-era congressional body as a blueprint for weeding out American ISIS adherents and sympathizers.”

Newt Gingrich wants new House Un-American Activities Committee –



“He was a short-lister for Donald Trump’s vice president. He was one of the mogul’s few defenders among the Republican Party’s elder statesmen. So what will be Newt Gingrich’s reward for his loyalty? We’re about to find out.”

“I said I want to be the senior planner for the entire federal government, and I want a letter from you that says Newt Gingrich is authorized to go to any program in any department, examine it and report directly to the president,” Gingrich said Tuesday at a reception sponsored by the law firm Dentons.”

What role will Newt Gingrich have in a Donald Trump administration? | Political Insider blog:


Another is in regard to climate change policy and the future welfare of our world for generations to come:


“President-elect Trump has selected Myron Ebell, who disputes the scientific consensus around anthropogenic global warming, to lead the EPA transition team.”

“Ebell openly declares himself to be a climate change skeptic who disputes the severity of human activity on Earth’s climate. On this point, Ebell has been extremely consistent: He  argues  that anthropogenic global warming, if it happens at all, is a minor issue that has been usurped by liberals to expand the federal government. He has stated in many different venues that he intends to dismantle the scientific consensus around anthropogenic global warming”

Trump Taps Outspoken Climate Denier To Oversee EPA Transition Team :


The global damage that a Trump presidency can and will do is unimaginable.


“And, in the first test of Trump’s willingness to rebuild bridges with Russia, Putin’s spokesman suggested that President-elect Donald Trump should begin rebuilding the U.S.-Kremlin relationship by urging NATO to withdraw forces from the Russian border.  Dmitry Peskov told the Associated Press that such a move  “would lead to a kind of detente in Europe.” Trump repeatedly praised Putin during his campaign and suggested the U.S. abandon its commitment to the NATO alliance.”

NATO Panics As Putin Urges Trump To Force Alliance Withdrawal From Russian Border | Zero Hedge:


So now, like the tip of an iceberg just emerging, we see that Trump has been blatantly lying about his ties to Russia all throughout his campaign.


“The Obama administration is reviewing the Democratic Coalition’s investigative report highlighting ten “clear links” that the FBI failed to investigate about our President-elect’s business ties to Russia and to the regime of dictator Vladimir Putin’s regime.”

“The Dworkin Report shows that Donald Trump has incorporated almost  250 registered businesses  in Russia.”

“Additionally, the evidence shows that Trump has traveled to Russia dating back to 1987, before the end of the Soviet Union.”

“In particular, a visit in 2010 included a tour of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum led by a Russian government official of sufficient ranking, that he earned a personal photo and award from Vladimir Putin earlier this year.”

“Since Tuesday night, Putin’s regime has publicly admitted to having a hand in the Wikileaks deluge of emails  during the election.”

“Russian government officials told the New York Times that they had  direct contact with Trump’s closest allies  this week, after polls closed.”

Obama Is Now Looking Into Trump’s Ties To Russia That FBI Ignored:


As such, the 2016 election has been the most corrupt in the history of American politics, and is probably the most brilliant use of Social Engineering by one Dictatorship country to completely undermine and subvert the Democracy of another.


“First of all, there are the kinds of themes Trump uses. The use of ethnic stereotypes and exploitation of fear of foreigners is directly out of a fascist’s recipe book. “Making the country great again” sounds exactly like the fascist movements. Concern about national decline, that was one of the most prominent emotional states evoked in fascist discourse, and Trump is using that full-blast, quite illegitimately, because the country isn’t in serious decline, but he’s able to persuade them that it is. That is a fascist stroke. An aggressive foreign policy to arrest the supposed decline. That’s another one. Then, there’s a second level, which is a level of style and technique. He even looks like Mussolini in the way he sticks his lower jaw out, and also the bluster, the skill at sensing the mood of the crowd, the skillful use of media.”

“I read an absolutely astonishing account of Trump arriving for a political speech, somewhere out West I think, and his audience was gathered in an airplane hangar, and he landed his plane at the field and taxied up to the hangar and got out. That is exactly what they did in 1932 for Hitler’s first election victory. No one had ever seen a candidate arrive by plane before; it was absolutely dazzling, the impression given, the decisiveness of power, of authority, of modernity. I suppose it was accidental, but wow, that is an almost letter-perfect replay of a Hitler election tactic. And the capacity of Trump to enlist working-class voters against the left is exactly what Hitler and Mussolini were able to do. There are definitely echoes.”

Is Donald Trump a fascist? An expert on fascism weighs in:


“A “nation-state” used Wikileaks to influence the US election, the head of the NSA says”

“The head of the US’s National Security Agency said Nov. 15 that a “nation-state” consciously targeted presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to affect the US election.”

NSA chief on Wikileaks and the hacks affecting the US election: “a conscious effort by a nation-state” — Quartz:


“French far-right party leader Marine Le Pen said on Wednesday that her election as president next year would form a trio of world leaders with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin that “would be good for world peace.””

“Anti-Europe and anti-immigration, the 48-year-old Le Pen was the only French political leader who backed Trump in the U.S. election.”

“Her National Front party has been buoyed by his victory and that of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, hoping to ride a similar anti-establishment wave in France to victory in next year’s poll.”

“”If I am president, France would have good relations with Russia,” she said.”

“Le Pen says she would re-instate border-checks with France’s neighbors and hold a referendum to take the country out of the Eu.”

Le Pen says ‘world peace’ would gain from a Trump-Putin-Le Pen trio | Reuters:


“The ex-Breitbart executive, who serves as Trump’s chief strategist for the new administration, told The Hollywood Reporter that “darkness is good.” “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they (liberals) get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing,” he said in an interview published Friday, his first outside of Breitbart since the election. Briebart News, which Bannon has been associated with since its start in 2007, has been vehemently pro-Trump throughout his presidential campaign, and is also known for pushing nationalist policy positions, as well as conspiracy theories, and has been criticized as being racist, sexist and anti-Semitic.”

Steve Bannon: ‘Darkness is good’ –



From HTML to ARIA Tabs, A Travelog

Tabs – a 3-step journey from HTML to ARIA

This article is an accompanyment to Danger! Testing Accessibility with real people

Here we take you through the steps of constructing the examples used in that article, paying particular attention to how we transform the functional html tabs with no screen reader semantics to a full-fledged tab implementation. We will make scenic stops along the way where we explain the importance of what we are adding. Photo opportunities are optional.

The basic Tabs without ARIA example is an online version of the halfway point of this journey, (after step 2), whilst tabs with ARIA example is the destination.

For a better understanding of ARIA, what it is and how to use it, we recommend giving The Accessibility Tree: A Training Guide for Advanced Web Development a spin. Then consult the ARIA authoring practices guide for advice on how to implement specific widgets, which has a very good entry for tabs.

Our goal is to make tabs on the web behave like tabs on the desktop. We’ll use some good old fashioned HTML as the basis, then enhance it as we go. In this exercise we create a tabbed form where a user provides contact information )home, work, or other). We don’t want to overload the user with unnecessary form fields, so we let them first choose the type of contact information they wish to provide so we can present only the form fields relevant to that information.

Step 1: The basic HTML

Here is the basic HTML code for our tabs example. (the CSS code is left out but is available in either of the online examples.

Note, due to formatting differences, section elements are used instead of div elements as seen within the live examples. Please use the live examples by saving them locally to run the code, since this will prevent any special character markup from clogging the works.


<h2>My preferred contact information</h2>
<ul id="tabs">
        <li><a id="homeTab" href="#home" class="tab selected">Home</a></li>
        <li><a id="workTab" href="#work" class="tab">Work</a></li>
        <li><a id="otherTab" href="#other" class="tab">Other</a></li>

<section id="home" class="tabcontent">
        <h3>Home contact information</h3>
        <p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>

<section id="work" class="tabcontent hidden">
        <h3>Work contact information</h3>
        <p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>

<section id="other" class="tabcontent hidden">
        <h3>Other Contact Information</h3>
        <p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>


Note how we use CSS

  • To make links visually look like tabs.
  • To visually indicate which tab is selected
  • To display tabpanel content
  • To hide inactive tabs.

The only CSS understood by assistive technologies is the hidden class.

Step 2: Add the desired keyboard functionality.

To all intents and purposes, ARIA is a screen reader only technology (though some speech recognition tools have limited support). People rely on the keyboard for many different reasons though, so getting the keyboard interaction in place is a fundamental next step.

Like tabs on the desktop, it should be possible to move focus onto the currently selected tab, cycle through the available tabs using the arrow keys, select one, then move focus from the selected tab to the panel of content that is currently displayed.

We use the tabindex attribute to handle keyboard focus. The currently selected tab has a tabindex of 0, making it focusable. The rest of the tabs have tabindex -1. If the html base element for a tab is natively focusable (such as a link( we don’t need to set tabindex=”0″ on the currently selected tab.

When the arrow key is pressed, we:

  • Make the newly selected tab focusable (adding tabindex of 0 or removing tabindex=”-1″ if the element is natively focusable.
  • Take the old tab out of focus order (by adding tabindex of -1).

This method is known as roving tab index and ensures that only the active tab is in the focus order.

Important notes on tab selection.

According to the ARIA 1.1 authoring practices guide, (that we’re working on at W3C), a tab may be selected when an arrow key moves focus to it or when the space and enter keys are pressed with focus on the tab. The difference depends on the interface and the way the content is rendered.

In either case, to ensure accessibility across devices and with various assistive technologies, onclick must be used as the trigger to select a tab, and not onfocus or any other key event. For example when an arrow key is used to select a tab, it should trigger the onclick handler for the tab that is to be selected. This ensures that a tab cannot be opened accidentally on touch screen devices, where onfocus is triggered automatically, and prevents the tabs from becoming unusable because a key press is required on a device that has no keyboard.

Moving focus to the start of a tabpanel as soon as a tab is selected is not something everyone will find helpful, especially if you decide not to implement the keyboard handling we mention above. What if someone selects the wrong tab, or decides the tab wasn’t the one they wanted? You’ve made an assumption about what that person wanted to do, and with rare exceptions we’re not fond of people making those sort of assumptions on our behalf.

You can view the JQuery code that handles the keyboard interaction on the “Tabs with ARIA” example page linked to above.

Yes, but what about the ARIA?

Once the basic interaction has been tested with mouse, keyboard and touch, it’s time to add some ARIA to enhance the experience for screen reader users.

Step 3: Add required ARIA roles.

Now let us add the required ARIA roles to our content.

  1. Add role=”tablist” to the <ul> container that holds all the tabs. This tells assistive technologies that a set of tabs is coming up and allows them to respond in the way most beneficial to the user. Screen readers, for instance can switch from browse mode into interactive or forms mode, which passes the keyboard events directly to the webpage instead of intercepting them.
  2. Add role=”tab” to each of the <a> elements that represent those tabs. This is what tells the screen reader to forget the HTML consists of a list of links, and instead tell the user it’s a set of tabs. Make sure to always add role=”tab” on the element that has the onclick Javascript event.
  3. Add role=”presentation” to each of the <li> elements. We need to use the <li> elements so the underlying HTML structure is usable on older devices (that don’t support ARIA), but the presentation role is what stops screen readers that do support ARIA from announcing the list items and enables them to calculate and announce the number of tabs in the tablist along with the relative position of the selected tab (e.g. “tab 2 of 3” for the work tab in our example.
  4. Add role=”tabpanel” to the <section> containers. This enables the screen reader to announce the beginning and the end of the visible tabpanel content.


<h2>My preferred contact information</h2>
<ul id="tabs" role=”tablist”>
        <li role=”presentation”><a id="homeTab" href="#home" class="tab selected" role=”tab”>Home</a></li>
        <li role=”presentation”><a id="workTab" href="#work" class="tab" tabindex="-1" role=”tab”>Work</a></li>
        <li role=”presentation”><a id="otherTab" href="#other" class="tab" tabindex="-1" role=”tab”>Other</a></li>

<section id="home" class="tabcontent" role=”tabpanel”>
        <h3>Home contact information</h3>
        <p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>

<section id="work" class="tabcontent hidden" role=”tabpanel”>
        <h3>Work contact information</h3>
        <p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>

<section id="other" class="tabcontent hidden" role=”tabpanel”>
        <h3>Other Contact Information</h3>
        <p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>


Step 4 (final step): Adding the ARIA attributes.

Finally, let’s add theARIA attributes that provide important context info for screen readers:

  1. Add the aria-controls attribute to each tab element. Its value is the id of the tabpanel whose display state is controlled by the tab. This attribute provides a programmatic context between the tab and its associated tabpanel. This programmatic context is important, and has already been turned into a keyboard shortcut (JawsKey-alt-m) using Jaws and Firefox. We expect more user agents to implement similar functionality.
  2. Add the attribute aria-labelledby to each tabpanel element. Its value is the ID of the tab that controls it. This is the reverse of the relationship explained in the above step and could also be used by assistive technologies, e.g. to provide a keyboard shortcut from the tabpanel to its associated tab.
  3. Add aria-selected=”true” to the currently selected tab and aria-selected=”false” to tabs that are not selected. Note how we used a CSS class to do the same visually? This is important, because screen reader user can see which tab is selected without switching to forms mode. Most screen readers automatically switch to forms or application mode when screen reader focus hits a tablist (to pass the keyboard keys directly to the page) , but advanced screen reader users often choose to override this behaviour.
  4. (optional) add aria-orientation to the tablist to indicate the direction (vertical or horizontal) of the visual tab layout. This can also indicate which set of arrow keys (up down, or left/right) to use for selecting tabs. Keep in mind that if the associated tabpanel has a lot of content, sighted keyboard only users may want to use the arrow keys up and down to scroll the page, so a horizontal set of tabs with right/left arrow keys might provide a better experience for that user group.


<h2>My preferred contact information</h2>
<ul role="tablist" id="tabs">
<li role="presentation"><a role="tab" aria-selected="true" aria-controls="home" id="homeTab" href="#home" class="tab selected">Home</a></li>
<li role="presentation"><a role="tab" aria-selected="false" aria-controls="work" id="workTab" href="#work" class="tab" tabindex="-1">Work</a></li>
<li role="presentation"><a role="tab" aria-selected="false" aria-controls="other" id="otherTab" href="#other" class="tab" tabindex="-1">Other</a></li>

<section role="tabpanel" aria-labelledby="homeTab" id="home" class="tabcontent">
<h3>Home contact information</h3>
<p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>

<section role="tabpanel" aria-labelledby="workTab" id="work" class="tabcontent hidden">
<h3>Work contact information</h3>
<p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>

<section role="tabpanel" aria-labelledby="otherTab" id="other" class="tabcontent hidden">
<h3>Other Contact Information</h3>
<p>Lots of input fields that do not matter for the purposes of demonstrating tabs.</p>


And we have arrived at our destination, “tab widget city”. A couple of years ago we would have said that the place is a bit of a mess, with inconsistent implementation and assistive technology support making it unreliable and confusing for the user. Today we can confidently say it is a more accessible place with the ARIA markup. But there is still room for improvements, both in terms of the authoring consistency and how assistive technologies take advantage of that markup.

Accessibility requires a lot of players to do their part but without the necessary semantic information that ARIA provides we never give user agents a chance to create a better world for those who need to access web content in an alternative and creative fashion.

Also, don’t forget that you can use Visual ARIA to visually display ARIA usage during development to aid in this process.

Co-authors: Birkir Gunnarsson from Deque Systems, Bryan Garaventa from SSB BART Group, Lèonie Watson from The Paciello Group (TPG), and Matt King from Facebook.


Reflections in Jagged Chrome

Running my thumb along the edge, the points sharp by touch;
my thoughts turn inward, wisps of memory for the soul to dredge;
the splintering of reality at dusk.


Stark mountains there, torn metal thrusting into the sky;
forever tracing the shadows edge;
awry, an epoch dwelling on the terminator between light and dark.


Jagged peaks still sharp enough to cut;
blood trickling down to streams and rivers,
pooling in valleys in times of flood.


Reflections there, from the past,
liquid in metal refracted in light,
glare from a thousand suns beating down;
smear of a billion stars in the ink of night;
haunting beauty of a smile, now lost forever in time;
bone white shard of a sickle moon shredding clouds in flight;
the softness in her eyes, gazing back into mine.



(Bryan Garaventa, 2016)