We live in a country with more freedoms than many and a vastly higher standard of living than most in the world. We waste more resources than many people have the opportunity to use, we have more cars than drivers, and we turn food crops into fuel while people go hungry. Our priorities are based on convenience and our leaders appear to make decisions based on financial and political gain. We as a disgruntled public stand by and allow it. We need to do something other than watch.
My goal for this pamphlet is to honor the legacy of printers and activists from the past, such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, who saw issues of the day and did their part to bring them to the attention of others. This information isn’t new. It’s readily available. These sobering facts and figures are thoroughly researched and cited. Originally, this pamphlet was planned as a satirical statement about the issues of our day, but in the end, the weight of this material was far too great to treat lightly. My hope is that it promotes a discourse with the readers and the desire to learn more and become more involved. Our democracy only works as well as the people involved in it. We as Americans have the responsibility to live up to our claims of being the greatest country on earth. If we don’t step up to the plate, then that’s not a claim we have the right to make.
#1 COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
BUT ARE WE REALLY?
Our leaders love to pontificate about America being the greatest country on earth, and we the masses love to wear our foam finger proudly and shout “We’re Number One!” to the rest of the world. But what are we really?
Climate change is good
State Representative Joe Read in Montana believes that climate change is a natural occurrence and not accelerated by pollution. He has proposed an economics bill that includes declaring climate change to be good for the state’s business economy and well-being.
Slavery and the Bible
Arkansas State Congressman Loy Mauch has written of his support of slavery and his belief that it is not condemned in the Bible.
Ken Buck, front runner for Colorado’s US Senate seat and current local District Attorney, refused to see a rape case on grounds that a jury could conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse, stating, “Although, you never said the word yes, the appearance is of consent.”
Abortion law combined with motorcycle law
In an attempt to pass multiple restricting laws all at once, politicians in NC have lumped abortion restrictions inside of a motorcycle safety bill, hoping to rush it through the house. Regardless of how unrelated abortions and motorcycles are, this actually passed.
Felony to propose a law that restricts gun rights
Missouri State Representative Mike Leara proposed a law that would make proposing laws that infringe on the right to bear arms a felony offense. ￼
Climate change is not fact
Both Texas and Louisiana have laws that make it required to teach that climate change is a theory and not a fact, regardless of scientific consensus that climate change is real and man-made.
Segregated proms still happen
Regardless of students’ desire to join proms, the leadership in place at some schools in the South, such as Georgia, still insist on holding segregated events.
Insurance benefits for no one in the National Guard
Governor Mary Fallin stated that Oklahoma would no longer offer benefits for any National Guard couples to avoid breaking federal same sex laws.
Fueled by Republican disdain for Obamacare, the federal government fought for six weeks over a budget bill, eventually ending in a lengthy government shutdown that cost us 24 billion dollars.
Ted Cruz’s filibuster
To show his and his fellow Republicans’ opposition of Obamacare, Ted Cruz spoke for 21 hours straight about his dislike for the program among other miscellaneous unrelated topics.
What can you and I do?
Firstly, we need to base our decisions on sound logic.
Take pollution for instance. Why pollution has become a political issue gets at the bewildering degradation of our environment. Profits now, exhausted earth later. In a recent election, a popular candidate repeatedly spoke of getting rid of the EPA. He came dangerously close to being elected. Do we not recall when America had rivers that caught fire? When the symbol of our country, the American Bald Eagle, was endangered due to the spread of the pesticide DDT traveling up the food chain? How could this candidate be in contention? Environmental regulation helps ensure protection.
Secondly, we need to consider where we get our information.
Many media outlets are extremely biased and have been proven so. For instance, it was shown that people who watched Fox News were more likely to believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, and that the more often they watched, the stronger their beliefs became. Polls by media- monitoring groups studying fairness in reporting show the bias of this network, yet those who watch it believe there is none. Just because an email traverses the internet saying that so-and-so is a socialist does not make it so. We need to stop being so gullible. We choose to believe what we want. We tend to listen to programs that support our own views rather than listen to a variety of viewpoints and then think critically for ourselves. We choose to be passive. We choose to vote based on a single topic of our ideology, abortion for example, instead of a potential leader’s entire platform. We blame our problems on others, often of differing race or socioeconomic class, rather than look deeper into the root of the problem.
Thirdly, we need to get involved.
Yes, it’s hard to believe that one small voice can hardly make a difference, but it can. Change starts with individuals believing in a dream and working hard to realize it. Where would we be today without the efforts of individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Adams, John Dewey, Upton Sinclair, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Betty Friedan, Harvey Milk and many, many more.
Do what you can with what you have. I have printing presses and I have a voice. My hope is that putting this book out into the world will make a difference.
Todd M. Thyberg
The best country on earth…
…why do so many of our people go hungry? Why do our leaders consistently work for corporate interests rather than individuals’ rights? How can our leaders, the media, and we the public still be ignorant to the factual reality of climate change? Why can someone go to prison for a minor drug offense while the people who brought our economy to its knees still receive bonuses? Why are we still taking off our shoes to fly? How can 2/3 of America’s population be overweight when people here and around the world are going hungry? How is it acceptable to make fuel from food? Why don’t we Americans question policies?
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
The information in this book is not ground-breaking, but it is time-sensitive. If left unattended, these matters will only increase in scale. It is up to each of us to stay educated and actively do our individual parts to change the direction of this country. These are sources of the data referenced in this pamphlet,but a simple online search will help you to stay informed as the most current information becomes available.
AMERICA IS #1
“Bullying is more common among old children-Girls.” Society at a Glance 2009: OECD Social Indicators, OECD Publishing. 2009. Link
“Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in Retreat.” The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2010. Link
“Democracy Index 2012: Democracy at a standstill.” The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2012 Link
Freeman, David. “Gallup Poll: Americans’ Views On Evolution, Creationism Little Changed.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 01 June 2012. Web. Link
“Male Prevalence of Obesity.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2011. Link
Parry, Wynne. “Gallup Poll: Americans’ Views On Evolution, Creationism Little Changed.” Huffington Post. 1 June 2012.
Reich, Ashley. “Highest divorce rates in the world.” Huffington Post. 21 December 2010. Link
Rice, Mark. “Ranking America.” Ranking America. Web. 6 January 2014. Link
Rogers, Simon. “World carbon emissions: The league table of every country.” The Guardian. 21 June 2012. Link
“The U.S. spent more on defense in 2012 than the countries with the next 10 highest defense budgets combined.” Peter G. Peterson Foundation. 12 April 2013. Link
“United States.” CIA World Factbook. 28 January 2014. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world- factbook/geos/us.html”>Link
“United States.” Programme for International Student Assessment. 2012. Link
Buchheit, Paul. “Average American Families Pays $6K a Year in Big Business Subsidies.” Moyers & Company. 24 September 2013. Web. Link
Dinan, Stephen. “U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion—tops $17 trillion for the first time.” 18 October 2013. Link
Frank, Robert. “US in minting almost all of the world’s millionaires.” CNBC. 9 October 2013. Link
Gladstone, Sabrina. “CNS News.” CNSNews.com. 3 August 2012. Web. Link
Gongloff, Mark. “The U.S. Has The Worst Income Inequality In The Developed World, Thanks To Wall Street: Study.” Huffington Post. 15 August 2013. Link
“It’s the Inequality, Stupid.” Mother Jones. March 2011. Web. Link
Katz, Andrew. “Congress now mostly a millionaires’ club.” TIME. 9 January 2014. Link
Liberto, Jennifer. “CEO pay in 380 times average worker’s-AFL-CIO.” CNN Money. 19 April 2012. Link
Marovich, Pete. “Corporate Welfare Grows to $154 Billion Even in Midst of Major Government Cuts.” Reclaim Democracy. Web. Link
Riley, Charles. “Family net worth plummets nearly 40%.” CNN Money. 12 June 2012. Link
Sinn, Mike P. “Government Spends More on Corporate Welfare Subsidies than Social Welfare Programs.” Think by Numbers. Web. 03 March 2014. Link
LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
“American Household Credit Card Debt Statistics: 2013.” NerdWallet. Web. Link
“Divorce Study: Financial arguments early in relationship may predict divorce.” Huffington Post. 12 July 2013. Link
EarthTalk. “Use It and Lose It: The Outsize Effect of U.S. Consumption on the Environment.” Scientific American. 14 September 2012. Web. Link
Gunders, Dana. “Wasted.” NRDC. August 2012. Link
“Stress in America.” American Psychological Association. 7 February 2013. Link
“The State of Consumption Today.” Worldwatch Institute. Web. Link
￼STATES OF DISPARITY
“2010 Complete Election Coverage: Ken Buck Stands by Controversial Remarks.” POLITICO. Web. Link
Aronson, Gavin. “Montana Rep: Global warming good for the economy.” Mother Jones. 17 February 2011. Link
Banerjee, Neela. “Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms.” LA Times. 16 January 2012. Link
Celock, John. “Loy Mauch, Arkansas lawmaker, defended slavery in letters to the editor.” Huffington Post.
8 October 2012. Link
Dinan, Stephen and Jacqueline Klimas. “As Sen. Cruz gives long speech, Treasury gets short on funding.” Washington Times. 25 September 2013. Link
Griffin, Marshall and Chris McDaniel. “Mo. House bill makes proposing gun control legislation a felony offense.” St. Louis Public Radio. 19 February 2013. Link
Johnson, Luke. “Government shutdown cost $24 billion, Standard & Poor says.” The Huffington Post.
18 October 2013. Link
“Segregated Prom.” The Huffington Post. Link
Stern, Mark Joseph. “Republican governor denies benefits to all soldiers to discriminate against gay ones.” Slate.com. 20 November 2013. Link
Terkel, Amanda. “North Carolina motorcycle abortion bill passes state house.” The Huffington Post. 11 July 2013. Link
Burdeau, Cain. “BP Oil spill trial nears, company faces billions in fines.” Associated Press. 25 February 2012. Link
“Consensus: 97% of scientists agree.” NASA. Accessed 5 February 2014. Link
Mogerman, Josh. “Two Years Later, Kalamazoo River Oil Pipeline Spill Is Nation’s Costliest.” Chicagoist. 26 July 2012. Web. Link
“Pipeline crews cleaning up oil leak near Neche.” Associated Press. 12 January 2010. Link
Robertson, Campbell.” U.S. puts oil spill total at nearly 5 million Barrels.” New York Times. 2 August 2010. Link
“Romeoville Oil Spill: More Than 250,000 Gallons Of Oil Recovered In Chicago Suburb.” Associated Press.
16 September 2010. Link
“Say no to tar sands pipeline.” NRDC. March 2011. Link
“USGS: Ogallala aquifer water quality currently acceptable.” Journalstar.com. 19 July 2009. Link ￼
Akers, Becky. “Ten years of the TSA: Yes, it feels much longer.” Forbes. 18 November 2011. Link
Andrews, Wilson and Todd Lindeman. “The black budget.” The Washington Post. 29 August 2013. Link
Berkes, Howard. “Amid data controversy, NSA builds its biggest data farm.” National Public Radio. 10 June 2013. Link
“Figures show thousands of breaches at U.S. airports.” CNN.com. 13 July 2011. Link
Frank, Thomas. “It’s the last gasp for bomb-sensing ‘puffers’ at airports.” USA Today. 21 May 2009. Link
Jansen, Bart. “TSA finding more guns each year at checkpoints.” USA Today. 13 January 2014. Link
Jones, Jeffrey. “Americans back profiling air travelers to combat terrorism.” Gallup. 15 January 2010. Link
Lapidos, Juliet. “Does the TSA ever catch terrorists?” Slate.com. 18 November 2010. Link
Lester, Will. ”Federal probe questions TSA behavior profiling.” Associated Press. 13 November 2013. Link?utm_hp_ref=tsa
Mosk, Matthew, Angela Hill, and Timothy Fleming. “Gaping Holes in Airline Security: Loaded Gun Slips Past TSA Screeners.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 16 December 2010. Web. Link
Priest, Dana and William M. Arkin. “A hidden world growing beyond control.” Washington Post. September 2010. Link
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
Thank you for visiting.