In The Know: Shareholders and the state of our country

“We are at a crucial turning point in our country.”

This is what one TikToker (@hunteraleecee) said in a 9-minute video discussing the current state of our country following the Congressional hearing of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about the app’s alleged surveillance on American citizens, leading to a debate on banning the app.

The premise of her video, however, talks about two major corporations who are at the helm of what is going on in the United States right now: BlackRock and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

How are two corporations to blame for some of the major political debates in the country right now? Where there’s money, there’s power, and BlackRock has a lot of it.

BlackRock is the world’s largest asset management company with more than $10 trillion in assets. This is more gross domestic product than every country in the world except for the United States and China. They wield a lot of influence over companies in America, and therefore, America by virtue. Because they own a lot of companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and ExxonMobile, they have a lot of voting power and decision-making.

What people should be concerned about, however, is how BlackRock’s funding drives the companies growth and profitability, and therefore gives BlackRock increasing influence on the U.S. economy and government.

BlackRock is a top shareholder across a wide range of global industries, including tech, oil and gas, retail, big banks, healthcare and gun and weapon manufacturing.

What are some of our major political divides right now? Just about that same list.

As Aleecee highlights in her video, sharing points made in this Eyes on the Ties article, “The firm props up the fossil fuel industy to the tune of $260 billion in investments in corporations that are propelling our climate catastrophe. It has nearly $6 billion invested in civilian gun manufacturers and retailers and an astounding $36 billion invested in military weapons’ companies.”

Starting with the environmental issues, BlackRock supports corporations that are affecting our climate, deforestation and oil and gas projects. The money from the asset management company gives the corporations the partial green light to operate projects such as The Willow Project. President Joe Biden is also to blame for this future Alaska environmental disaster, too.

The project could potentially generate enough oil to release 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution a year.

Another issue in the United States is the fact that there have been 165 mass shootings in the country and even more gun-related issues that don’t classify as a mass shooting. It’s currently the 110th day of 2023, meaning 1.5 mass shootings occur per day.

Corporations like Sturm Ruger, American Outdoor Brands (formerly known as Smith & Wesson), and Vista Outdoor received a pretty penny from BlackRock to operate – who, by the way, are strong supporters of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Noted in the article, BlackRock has an 8.3% stake in American Outdoor Brands (Smith & Wesson).

Why isn’t the government doing anything about guns or climate change? BlackRock’s money.

A big talking point of the political world in 2023 revolves around TikTok’s involvement (or lack thereof) on American soil which led to the Congressional hearing. How does this tie into BlackRock?

“BlackRock owns 6.9% of Facebook.” Aleecee read. BlackRock also has stake in Meta, who also strongly support the TikTok ban. But Facebook is not out of the clear as the company had their own data sharing situation in the 2010s with the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Since BlackRock invests in Meta, that social media who continues to collect and sell data is safe.

More recently, BlackRock’s influence holds with Norfolk Southern and Labcorp. Following the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment in February, it seems as though Norfolk Southern was bailed out of its poor handling of the aftermath of the derailment and how it affected the community.

Going even deeper, Labcorp, which is heavily funded by BlackRock, no longer tests for dioxins in your bloodstream. How do dioxins end up in your blood? Read about it here. But it’s simple: Labcorp does not want to be at the cross-hairs of a potential Norfolk Southern backlash when they find dioxins in the blood of the community’s citizens. Ultimately, BlackRock would also be in big trouble, but maybe not too much considering its influence on the nation.

Aleecee spends another part of the video discussing the Alliance Defending Freedom. The ADF is a right-wing Christian group that supports anti-LGBT and anti-trans laws in addition to enforcing Christian values in the government.

The overall purpose of the group, according to Aleecee, is to turn the U.S. democracy into a Christian theocracy. It wants to bring back old values relating to pro-life, anti-LGBT and other “Christian” values.

In 2023, this is happening.

South Carolina state legislatures looked into passing a bill that criminalizes abortion with execution. If the Bible is being used, according to the ADF’s goals, to progress with a Christian theocracy, then why isn’t the government looking at Exodus 20:13 which states “You shall not murder.” Execution, according to any dictionary you may pick up, is defined as carrying out a death sentence.

Texas lawmakers will debate “transgender kids’ access to transition-related health care, classify businesses that host drag shows as sexually oriented establishments and limit public school lessons on sexuality and gender identity.

Tennessee’s House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday that allows county clerks ability to refuse a marriage license if it goes against their personal beliefs, meaning interracial, gay and interfaith marriages are at stake.

Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female…” could clearly read as to say there’s no binary. (Which will be a future topic of discussion.)

Not to mention, it’s worth noting that Matt 5:22 explicitly warns against using anti-gay slurs and hateful language. Furthermore, the Bible doesn’t say anything about trans/LGBT being a sin. So arguing an anti-LGBT agenda with the Bible, something ADF is pushing to do, isn’t a clear cut foundation for an argument.

Why does this matter? Members of the government have worked for or supported ADF. Alan Sears, who was the longtime president, CEO and general counsel of ADF also served in various roles during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. No separation of church and state here.

These shareholders hold a lot of influence and power in the U.S. economy and government, which puts its citizens at risk of the results of their actions. Division, Aleecee notes at the end of her video, is something Americans can no longer afford to be.

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