What Russia and the USA have in common

Notwithstanding the many differences between the United States and Russia, perhaps the most striking similarity between them is the existence of an oligarchy that pervades the financial and political structure of both nations.

An oligarch is a wealthy business leader who exerts political influence.  Oligarchs are typically associated with Russia, but they exist in many countries.  They possess money, the nutrient that feeds political endeavors.

Oligarchs in Russia and the U.S. exist in a sort of alternative universe.  In Russia, they are granted financial favor by the government with support expected.  In the U.S. they obtain wealth in a free financial system, then use it to influence the government.

The Facebook oligarch, Mark Zuckerberg, spent $350 million in what was purported to be assistance to local officials to assure "trustworthy, inclusive elections."  Monica Showalter reported that the real reason for the support was to bribe officials to deliver votes to Democrats in swing states.  Zuckerberg's Center for Tech and Civic Life spent $15 million in Michigan, almost half of it going to the Democratic stronghold of Detroit.  Real Clear Politics reported that the money was used to "increase mail-in voting, remote drop boxes, and other measures that increase ballot harvesting," making election malfeasance easier.  Almost 90% of the votes impacted by Mr. Zuckerberg's activism in the Detroit area went to candidates of the Democratic Party.  It's against the law to buy elections, but Mr. Zuckerberg seems to have found a loophole.

Is Twitter an oligarch?  It is a platform from which almost anyone can broadcast their thoughts while generating millions of dollars from advertisers hoping to sell products to tweeters.

Twitter management has chosen to censor the platform.  This may be to assure adherence to Twitter Rules, or it may be that only tweets supporting factions Twitter's management favor "serve the public conversation."

During the 2020 election, Twitter canceled politicians its management determined violated Twitter Rules.  An example of this is the cancelation of President Trump over claims that he incited violence.

They have chosen to allow Ayatollah Khamenei to blame the world's problems on the U.S., Antifa recruitment efforts, and many distasteful tweets.  Twitter's real motivation, aside from the profit motive, is to deliver public conversation that promotes the political factions its management endorses.  This makes Twitter a techno-oligarch of sorts.

Another example of an American oligarch is Jeff Bezos.  He has amassed a fortune at Amazon by accepting electronic requests for goods from its customers, converting the requests into physical goods, and delivering them for profit.  The business model is simple and efficient, and it has made Mr. Bezos a very wealthy man.  He is so wealthy that he can afford to build his own spaceship in which he has flown with Captain Kirk, boldly going where no oligarch has gone before.

He also purchased the Washington Post, a legendary liberal-leaning leader of American journalism.  Under his ownership, the WaPo has been at war with Donald Trump and those who follow him.  The WaPo has printed misleading stories, some of which have been absurdly false.  They printed at least 18 reasons why Trump could be a Russian agent.  A journalist or editorial board might attempt to determine whether such allegations are factual.  The Washington Post and many other news outlets don't burden themselves with journalistic standards.

Mr. Bezos purchased the WaPo in 2013, and the paper has been a reliable propagandist for the Democratic Party.  As a business, the Post operates within the parameters of a free press.  Unfortunately, its managers and staffers are inspired more by political faction than truth.  The paper has helped propel Mr. Bezos through the ether into the stratosphere of American oligarchy.  Beam us up, Jeff — there is no sign of intelligent life at the WaPo.

Bill Gates is using his billions to advocate for green energy.  He suggests that consumption of meat generates climate-changing CO2 and advocates cardboard protein as a substitute for beef steak.  To cash in, he is buying farmland in the Midwest.  Perhaps he can use the agricultural products he produces to make the cardboard protein he advocates or some form of Soylent Green.  He could deliver the product to Jeff Bezos to eat as he goes star-trekking.

American oligarchs aren't confined to the talking points of the Democratic Party platform.  Conservatives like the Koch brothers are oligarchs, as is the anarchist George Soros.

Monied interests have long enjoyed outsized influence over American culture and political discourse.  The Rockefellers and Vanderbilts didn't support the trust-busting Progressive Republicans.  Perhaps modern-day trustbusters should insert themselves into the business activities of some of these oligarchs.

American oligarchs attempt to insulate conversations to prevent the dissemination of divergent ideas and cancel those who dare disagree with them.  They push untrue narratives disguised as journalism, censor their internet platforms, and spend the millions they've earned to buy votes for factions they support.  Oligarchs all over the world have too much power.  The United States is no exception.

Image: Sebastian Vital via Flickr.

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