The “American Dream” …

“American Dream is rapidly becoming American Illusion,” warns UN rights expert on poverty

You knew it was happening, and so did I, but now it is official … Trump is turning this nation into the “world champion of extreme inequality”, according to a new report by the United Nations (UN). Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, recently completed a two-week official tour of the US and reported on his findings.

“American exceptionalism was a constant theme in my conversations. But instead of realizing its founders’ admirable commitments, today’s United States has proved itself to be exceptional in far more problematic ways that are shockingly at odds with its immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights. As a result, contrasts between private wealth and public squalor abound.”

A bit about Philip Alston, so you know he is knowledgeable and qualified to speak on this subject:

Philip Alston teaches international law, international criminal law, and a range of human rights subjects. He has degrees in law and economics from the University of Melbourne and a JSD from Berkeley. He previously taught at the European University Institute, the Australian National University, Harvard Law School, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He was one of the founders of both the European and the Australian and New Zealand societies of international law and was editor-in-chief of the European Journal of International Law from 1996 through 2007. In 2014, he was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as its Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. From 2004 to 2010, he was UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, undertaking official missions to Sri Lanka, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Israel, Lebanon, Albania, Kenya, Brazil, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, and the United States. He has also been on the Independent International Commission on Kyrgyzstan (2011) and the UN Group of Experts on Darfur (2007) and served as Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals (2002-07); chairperson (1991-98) and rapporteur (1987-91) of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; and UNICEF’s Senior Legal Adviser on children’s rights (1986-92). – New York University, School of Law, faculty bio.

Need I say more?

During his time touring and researching for his report, Mr. Alston spent time with a wide variety of people, including Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who opined that as the “wealthiest country in the history of the world” the US should be providing a model in how to treat all of its citizens with dignity. “Sadly that is not the case. We are moving into 2018 – we should not be living in a country with 41 million people living in poverty and so many more in extreme poverty, and nobody even talks about it.”

Alston requested a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan, but Ryan could not make time in his busy schedule to meet with him.  Says something, don’t you think?

“The US is alone among developed countries in insisting that while human rights are of fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable healthcare, or growing up in a context of total deprivation. But denial does not eliminate responsibility or negate obligations.”

Alston was disturbed to find that some of the politicians with whom he met referred to poor people as “wasters, losers and scammers”, and says he wonders if these politicians have ever actually even visited areas of poverty.

This week, our not-so-illustrious Congress apparently reconciled the two tax bills and plan on what could be a final vote next week.  It appears that both chambers have the necessary votes to send the bill to Trump’s desk for his signature.  Let us see what Mr. Alston has to say about that bill:

“The proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world, [emphasis added] and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of Americans.  The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by the President and Speaker Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes.”

I urge you, dear readers, to read Mr. Alston’s full report, the final version of which will be officially issued in May 2018.  It is a scathing report, and proves what some of us have been saying for nearly 11 months now:  Donald Trump and his minions are putting this nation on a collision course, on a path to the destruction of the very things in which we have taken pride for 230 years now.  This report was a wake up call, even for me, who has seen the destruction since January 20th. We are no longer the “leader of the free world”.  In time, if Trump continues to have nearly free reign, we may no longer even be a part of the ‘free world”. Think about it.

46 thoughts on “The “American Dream” …

  1. Pingback: To the Freeworlders | From guestwriters

  2. Jill, we have fallen in the ranks of social economic mobility. A simple data point says it all – where and to whom you were born matters more than merit for success. We have a poverty and declining middle class and the solution of our leaders in DC is to give more money to rich people and corporations and kick people in need off healthcare. Trump voters have been kicked in the teeth and do not even know it. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, but my question is this: WHY don’t they even know it? Both the ACA repeal and this latest abomination of a tax bill have been widely publicized by the press and bloggers like you, me and Gronda, as being nothing but a kick in the teeth to the average person. It is no secret at all … so WHY do the masses not understand? It has been spelled out in the simplest of terms … what part is it they are not understanding??? I’m as puzzled by this as I am anything.


      • Jill, a significant number of people do not pay attention to news, unless it is sports or entertainment news. So, they get snippets from sources that should be questioned. Then, we have a President who lies daily and complains that real news people are lying…and he is believed by too many.

        This is why I blog and read credible bloggers as both give me some sanity. Smug politicians who spout inaccurate or biased information are highly frustrating. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, you are right and I knew that, but sometimes I just forget sometimes. And indeed, this is why my blog took a path that I never intended in the second half of 2015 and why I’m still at it. I’ve long since given up the idea of going back to just doing book reviews and writing about social injustices ’round the globe, for I have enough of them in my own backyard! At least we are trying to enlighten people … whether they listen or not …


  3. Mr Alston is an impressive speaker who has studied his subject without prejudice , thanks for pointing out this unbiased expert in the field.
    Some of his report is shocking and some very surprising because we are used to reading the media on all these subjects and taking them at their word. I watched him talking about Saudi Arabia ; he has a calm cool collected approach with a quiet determination. I did think there were more poor blacks than whites in the US but not so. He is a man who insists on direct contact with the poor and the news men would do well to note that fact. We often see politicians holding up babies let’s see some more walking around hovels exposing the unseen side of our cities.
    Instead of the latest technology let’s see the makeshift tin shacks ,because they are there brushed aside so as not to offend our senses.
    On a little investigation I discovered that severe poverty was lifted by the industrial revolution in developed countries and advanced among the working classes right up until the eighties and then it began to fall again. The politics of the right enhances the chances of the rich getting richer and results in the increased inequality we see all over the globe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am glad you checked him out. I usually don’t spend so many words on a persons credentials, but his were so impressive, and I thought it important that people see this is not just somebody who wants to put Trump down, but somebody who truly knows what he is talking about, so there is virtually no chance he can be called biased or “faux news”. And now what, though? Do people even realize what this means, what is says about the nation whose motto is “liberty and justice for all”?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can hear it now:
    ‘Fake news by a Zionist/socialist cabal!’……
    ‘Ooops hold that first word, Trump has said Jerusalem should be capital’……..
    ‘Duh? I’m confused now,’
    ‘No your not, it’s all that socialist, liberal fake news that’s messing with your mind,’
    ‘Yeh, that’s true. We really are wealthy. Like I gotta a car and ten guns an’ a signed pictures of Steve Bannon’
    Hah!!….(that’s me by the way)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are good for me, my friend! You make me laugh! Yes, as long as he promises the people they can keep their guns … you know that Obama was secretly coming to take them away ha ha hee hee, right? As long as they can keep their guns, then they will keep saying “Heil Trump” and everyone will be happy. Except those few of us who have these strange things in our heads … perhaps we will be ordered to have a lobotomy to still the thoughts?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have long thought that America was a very unequal society, and things seem to be getting worse and not better.
    But, it’s only recently that I have realised that your health care really sucks, and that’s getting worse too.
    But, Hugs anyway. ❤❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, my friend, our healthcare is not for people like me, or the average person, but is for those who can afford thousands of dollars. ‘Tis why I have to order all medications through a Canadian pharmacy where I pay less than a third of what I pay here, and where I do not have to see a doctor every three months to obtain a prescription for life-saving insulin. And none of that is likely to change here soon, for big pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies own it. And doctors get rich, drive BMWs and take 4 cruises to the Bahamas a year. Cynical? Yes, I certainly am … with cause. Many hugs, Jack!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sobering report, but poverty in the US is nothing new. And as you say, the tax reform bill is about to make it a lot worse.
    It does make you think that any rhetoric about improving the living standards of poor people is just that – hollow promises to get votes. It seems to me that given poverty has been with us for decades, world wide, there must be an overall plan to keep it that way, so only a few people have control of everything. Now that is a sobering thought.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Me too…when I was a kiddie, we collected money for starving children in the Biafran war (Africa). I helped my mum when she was out collecting donations door to door. There was no internet to spread the word, but charities, churches and schools were so heavily involved. Consecutive decades have seen huge quantities of money collected to give people a better life, and continues to do so. But what has really changed? Not a lot. Poverty continues to be the lot of people designated for the dirtiest, back-breaking, physical labour jobs. And those jobs are what feed a large part of humanity, pull resources out of the ground and destroy forests and water courses in the pursuit of utopia for a very few. There is something very wrong with human society and it is coming from those with the leadership roles that could make it all quite different.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. If Trump manages to stay in charge in a couple of years he’ll be holding a Closing Down Sale of epic proportions when Russia and China will be able to buy vast swathes of the US. The people will be peasant stock kept on to manage the land but not to enjoy it’s bounty and slavery will probably rear it’s ugly head but colour won’t be the issue as the whites will also have to sell themselves into servitude.
    The rest of the world must not look to follow America down this path as it has so many others.
    xxx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: *Press It*: A One Word Sentence – Lavender and Levity

    • Definitely depressing, but I was surprised with how low we have sunk and how quickly, even though I’ve been writing about it for two and a half years now! And his followers will ignore this, or call it “fake news” no doubt.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    The destruction of the American Empire will come from within …
    ‘Drumpf and his minions are putting this nation on a collision course, on a path to the destruction of the very things in which we have taken pride for 230 years now.’

    Liked by 3 people

          • Dear Jill … it seems, one more time, that we are on the same page!! I’m losing hope … I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
            This subhuman has no bottom … he’s taking ALL down his rabbit hole!!

            On another note … I’d like to ask you a unrelated question. Did you receive an email from WordPress about the new privacy policies? They are set to start by Jan 3 … I must confess that I haven’t really checked them but a blogger friend pointed this out to me. She’s even considered closing her ‘spot’ and not blogging anymore. Any enlightening thoughts?
            Thanks so much, in advance!! Hugs …
            ❤ …

            Liked by 2 people

            • If I did receive such an email, it likely landed in my ‘spam’ folder and was deleted. I have tried to find out about such a letter and have not been able to. Did your friend send you a copy of the letter, by any chance? I would be interested in seeing it, and I was surprised not to find anything on the ‘net, though admittedly I didn’t spend hours on it, for I am, as always, in a time crunch these days … as you might note by the fact that I am 2 days behind on responding to comments! But did she say what, specifically, disturbed her about the letter? Let me know, for I am curious now.

              Liked by 1 person

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