The illusion of choice

The spectacle of nearly twenty Republican presidential candidates is a recent phenomenon, and a curiosity. They are nearly uniform in their views, so much so that they would be at home in the Politburo or Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power. There is no diversion from the doctrinaire code of Americanism – we love our wars and want lower taxes, hate immigrants and want to end abortion (for others).

How does it come about? These men and woman are, by and large, low quality. Having schooled themselves in American Economics 101 (lower taxes, cut government non-military spending), they imagine themselves clever. Their views are never tested in the heat of real debate, and so they never move forward in their thinking.

What’s up? All I can figure is that the bar of entry to politics, on the Republican side at least, is set so low that any damned fool can cross it. As long as they mouth proper groupthink platitudes, the media has no basis for derision or dismissal. All are credible in our low-thought environment.

Among all those candidates, one has already been selected as our next president. I do not know who it is.

On the Democratic side, the field is much narrower. In debates on that side, while support of military and its many wars is a given, the breadth of issues is wider, and candidates, all on a leash, are given latitude to talk and sound somewhat progressive**. Debates will be an immersion into wedge politics.

Among those candidates, one has already been selected as the second place finisher in November of 2016.

Between the loonies of the right and the fake liberals of the left, we have the illusion of choice. That is the only reason we have politics – if voters realized they have no voice in the management of our country, they might get uppity. They might even form a real political movement for change.
_________________
*Al Gore has hinted at entering the race. Would it not be hilarious if he did, won the nomination, and had the election stolen from him by Jeb Bush?
** Where is my head at! This is known as “platitude latitude.”

26 thoughts on “The illusion of choice

  1. On taxes, for me, I just see them as just another way they screw you over and make money off of you, if inflation and price-gouging aren’t enough. It’s a rigged mixed-economic system that clearly favors the uber-rich and powerful over everyone else.

    The good news is taxes aren’t as certain as death. The federal income tax is one prime example of this. Initially it was first levied by Congress under Abe Lincoln’s presidency (who also oversaw the creation of the IRS) to provide additional funding for the Civil War, so his friends in the weapons industry can make plenty of money off of it, even though they had to levy more taxes to provide additional funding for that project, so more profits could be made.

    It was conveniently reinstated in 1913 (along with the Federal Reserve banking system) just before WWI began, so they could make even more money off of that project, and indeed they did. Both federal programs remain in place today. To quote the below article:

    “Wars cost a lot of money, so Congress was forced to go back to the taxation drawing board to raise revenue when the Civil War broke out in 1861. The income tax was officially born, imposed at a rate of 3% on all citizens who earned more than $800 a year. But as it turned out, this wasn’t enough to fund the war. Congress had to breathe new life into excise taxes a year later.”

    “Life without income taxes soon became history with the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1913. The amendment struck out the provision in the Constitution that said that taxes had to be levied based on states’ populations, and the income tax was reborn as a direct tax.”

    https://www.thebalancemoney.com/us-federal-tax-history-4145479#toc-the-first-income-tax

    “The Federal Reserve faced its first major test during World War I, helping to finance the war by facilitating war bond sales and by providing loans at preferential rates to banks purchasing Treasury certificates. The Fed also took actions to bring inflation down following the conflict, emerging from the period better equipped to serve as a central bank.”

    https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/feds-role-during-wwi

    You’ll love this poster below. They certainly made a huge killing (financially and literally) from brainwashing the sheeple into freely giving more of their time & money into the war effort.

    And, if course, here’s the reality behind following what the above poster suggests the stupid peasants to do, as best described by Smedley Butler from the perspective of your average brainwashed soldier:

    “When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his mind broken, they suffered too — as much as and even sometimes more than he. Yes, and they, too, contributed their dollars to the profits of the munitions makers and bankers and shipbuilders and the manufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought Liberty Bonds and contributed to the profit of the bankers after the Armistice in the hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bond prices.”

    https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Much as it is, true. During Lincoln’s time the feds did not have power of direct taxation. Congress could only ask the individual states to pony up based on population, and the states could either go along or not. It was not, from an oligarchical point of view, a good system, and had to change. I suggest you brush up on the 14th amendment, as that was the game changer. The US has been two countries in its history. Prior to #14, it was comprised of states that ran their own affairs, the feds looking on but powerless to interfere unless to broker matters where more than one state had issues that needed refereeing. #14 changed the game, and made the federal government the monstrous snake we have today, running every aspect of our lives.

      We just had elections, and the governorship of Arizona, I am told, was close. It does not matter, as the feds rule on every issue and can overpower any governor, set aside any law they do not like. The US Supreme Court was a bunch of eunuchs prior to 14, the Bill of Rights merely a list of suggestions, but 14 changed all of that. Freedom of speech, religion, to bear arms, all had to be revisited, many not done until the 20th century, and in case you did not notice, the first amendment is a dead letter with the creation of Covid. They threw out every single aspect, crushed it, rubbed our faces in it.

      MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, did not exist as practiced now in Lincoln’s time, and they had to actually raise money to fight their wars. By the time of WWI, with the Federal Reserve in place, they were free, as now, to run the printing presses, the only limitations the dreaded fear of inflation. Taxation became a way of limiting demand, nothing more. They do not worry about paying bills, only of keeping us in perpetual slavery. Money paid in taxes merely evaporates. No one is counting for real.

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      1. I have heard you say this before, ‘taxation was just a way to limit demand’ — I don’t understand what you mean by this, could you elaborate, please? Limit demand for what? For example, 3% of $800 as cited above as the first federal income tax—what is that limiting, and for whom?

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        1. Agreed, 3% was just a foot in the door, or soaking the frog in lukewarm water before turning on the burner. When I studied taxation, rates were much, much higher, a 70% bracket for very wealthy people. Now it is down to 37%, but that is only half the story. We live in a dual tax system, and the second tax rarely, if ever, shows up on your income tax return. It is called FICA, and is aimed strictly at working people, that is, wealthy people who live on dividends and capital gains do not pay it.

          FICA is the tax that drains us, as it is a “first dollar” tax. The stated rate seen on paychecks is 7.65%, with another 7.65% “matched” by employers, but that is fiction. Anything that an employer pays or pays on your behalf is a wage. So the true tax on working people is 15.3% – but not really, but it’s a bit more complicated and hard to explain, the true FICA tax rate is 15.3%/107.65%, or 14.2%. This is added to the regular income tax, which for most people is the higher 22% bracket. So almost everyone is paying a marginal tax rate of 36.2% on the last dollar eearned, or more than a third of their income. And that stings, and does dampen demand.

          FICA, by the way, the employer “match” is a hidden tax, the kind that governments love the most.

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        2. By the way, isn’t it interesting that wealthy people pay a marginal tax of 37% while ordinary wage earners pay a marginal tax of 36.2%, essentially the same. There are people out there who say we should have a flat tax, not knowing that we already do.

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          1. “By the way, isn’t it interesting that wealthy people pay a marginal tax of 37% while ordinary wage earners pay a marginal tax of 36.2%, essentially the same.”

            Either way, both are screwed over by the system, or at least financially. And even if the rich do pay the most federal taxes, it hardly matters, because they also receive the most federal funding in forms of massive tax expenditures spent on the most profitable industries – the military, pharmaceutical, and insurance/healthcare rackets – with barely enough money invested in actually going to helping the least fortunate or improving our country in any meaningful way.

            They win no matter what, for they have set-up the government from the very beginning to favor them at every opportunity.

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            1. Last I looked and it has been years, the tax intake from FICA and income tax were very near equal, though inc0me tax was more. That would be the objective, to skim off enough from everyone so that the rich, not really harmed, pay as much as the lower classes in terms of percentage of income. It is a flat tax. That is the objective. Milton Friedman won. But he never understood that the collections from taxes from all sources merely evaporate. They don’t need the money. They only need remove it from circulation. There is no national debt. Taxes finance nothing.

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              1. Interesting points. The manufactured fear over the national debt ceiling certainly proves to me that the problem ain’t nearly as bad as they claim, if there’s a problem at all.

                Regardless, the whole federal tax system appears to be another way they keep people under control while “stealing” what they have and burning it away. Federal spending, of course, is another animal if one is to believe the Modern Monetary Theory.

                The fact that the United States ‘government’ entered into expensive, for-profit wars that cost TRILLIONS and yet hasn’t officially gone bankrupt certainly lends credence to the theory (along with the fact that America’s central banking system enables this to happen.) Nice, eh?

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      2. Some of your points (regarding changes in the Constitution, etc.) have already been addressed here in these two videos a long time ago, so no need for the reminder. But thanks for your insights, Mark.

        Were We Ever Free?

        Truth Hurts, America (your tax dollars at work 🙂 ):

        To quote the from the description box of the above second video:

        “The ‘Great Depression’ and World War II were a total farce. The “United States” and various other companies were giving loans to other entities worldwide. The building of Germany’s infrastructure in the 1930s, including its railroad industry, was financed by the West. That way those who call themselves “leaders,” “officials,” “public servants,” etc. could sit back and play their game of chess by using their capital – real people. Think of those who sacrificed their lives, believing they were fighting for their countries that never even existed. The millions who died in vain. Isn’t it obvious why Switzerland is never involved in these fiascoes? That’s where the “Bank of International Settlements” is located. International and domestic conflicts are manufactured to distract, profiteer, and control the people from seeing the man behind the curtain. They need to conceive an “enemy” in order to maintain the Status Quo and the illusion of “Authority” in place.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “By the time of WWI, with the Federal Reserve in place, they were free, as now, to run the printing presses, the only limitations the dreaded fear of inflation. Taxation became a way of limiting demand, nothing more.”

        That’s kind of ironic because even way after WWI, taxation allegedly as a way of controlling demand has been a failed experiment. The uncontrollable rise of prices despite more taxes and federal programs included since the 1960’s-70’s prove this. So, in reality, it has served to lower the living standards of everyone else which worsening the wealth gap between the rich and the poor – and by design.

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    2. Well said, thanks. That reminds me of the ‘Broken Window’ parable of Bastiat. And if you look at the power of the insurance industry (not just weapons and drugs) you can see plainly that for a great many crime really does pay very well, whether that crime is legal per the government or illegal (for some).

      What makes it worse for us in the West is the imbedded nature of it and additional cloaking—so that it is not obvious to the average person. In eastern countries there is no question of the corruption to the average person and they are able then to at least protect themselves morally and psychological against this brand of mental and physical abuse. But because we put a veil of moral superiority over our corrupt culture we’ve got the mass of folks who truly buy into it all, who believe in the righteousness of the government, who blindly trust the system, who think we are better than the ‘lesser 2nd and 3rd world’ nations—when in actuality this blind trust makes us far more vulnerable in the long term.

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      1. Hence the existence of large federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, which primarily benefit the insurance cartels over the vulnerable customers they’re supposed to serve & protect. They were borne out of LBJ’s War on Poverty scam, which obviously had absolutely nothing to do with reducing poverty (poverty rates were already declining during the 1960s), but exacerbating poverty and making the rich investors, stockholders, and executives of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical cartels (or at least amongst those with government connections) even richer.

        https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/082015/how-much-medicaid-and-medicare-cost-americans.asp

        For more proof of this, look at whose raking in all the government dole, such as this big winner – McKesson Corporation:

        “2020 Revenue From Federal Contracts: $10 billion – What they do: Sitting on top of our list is one of America’s leading health care industry giants, the McKesson Corp. Founded in 1833 by Charles Olcott and John McKesson, the corporation became the pioneer of America’s wholesale pharmaceutical distribution network. With the devastation of the global pandemic, McKesson Corp became a cornerstone of the nation’s effort to curb the effects of COVID-19.”

        https://blog.executivebiz.com/articles/top-10-healthcare-and-medical-government-contractors/

        “Has the War on Poverty been a failure? Well, of course it has. If you devote 50 years and $21.5 trillion (in 4Q2013 dollars) to anything, and people are arguing about whether it was a success or a failure, then you can be sure that it was a failure.”

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2014/03/19/the-war-on-poverty-wasnt-a-failure-it-was-a-catastrophe/?sh=2885d36f6f49

        The only thing I disagree with the above article here is the claim that the mass looting campaign to allegedly fight poverty in America was a failure. A more accurate description is it has been a HUGE SUCCESS for the perpetrators because it has achieved two things, as I said before: make the poor poorer and the rich richer, meanwhile punishing middle and working class people with additional, crushing tax rates to finance the scam. The only failures here were the people the initiative was supposed to help: those in poverty.

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        1. Medicare and Medicaid, along with the funeral industry, look like the final fleecing stages to me. And ‘poverty’ just changes definitions to suit whichever industry is looking to profit from it. I don’t buy into the claims that rural folk were so miserable and impoverished they needed to be saved by universal electricity any more than I believe anyone is really saved by universal healthcare or education. Did rural folk get to vote if they wanted a mass of electric wires smack dab in their front yards? Did they have the chance to opt-out? NO! Nothing has changed. The ‘upgrades’ are always required, at the consumers’ expense.

          And I’ll bet it sounds shocking to some that there are actually crazy simpletons in the world who aren’t all that impressed with electricity. Should we care what they think at all? Should we require them all to become Amish and shuffle them off to reservations where they are allowed to live with their humble preferences?

          Soon to be ‘living in poverty’ will mean you don’t have a Smartphone in order to connect to high-speed internet that your cyberjob requires so you can earn your tokens in order to watch the latest garbage on Netflix. And unfortunately, these ‘poor’ folks will believe them, because they must be poor if they can’t afford all the latest trinkets and games.

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          1. I cannot speak to Medicaid, but for Medicare, its greatest contribution is that millions of seniors are able to keep their homes, leave something to their children. They would otherwise be wiped out by both the health care industry and the insurance cartel.

            Regarding funerals, yes, the coffin dealers are ripoff artists, but we’ve managed to set up funeral trusts at modest cost (featuring cremation, of course) that pay all expenses so that our children and grand kids only need worry about feeding the small group of people that would show up. We have even preselected the music (Goin’ Home on piano – I don’t care for the sung versions, and theme from Serces (Xerces)). Now all we need worry about is staying out of nursing homes and assisted living, which eat up inheritances faster than you can say “RRRIPOFFF!”

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            1. Agreed about the nursing homes and assisted living, except for the dementia/Alzheimer’s issue, which has absolutely skyrocketed and makes it nearly impossible for the average person to care for their own. My father-in-law progressed incredibly rapidly to the point he needed 24-hr care as he would leave the house in the middle of the night, wander around the roads or woods, needed constant care and attention, far more work than even an infant. How any family can manage that is beyond me. Then all the assisted living in the region had long waiting lists, we’re abominably expensive, or looked like something you wouldn’t want your worst enemy to have to live in.

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        2. And speaking of the War on Poverty and its related programs, here’s what LBJ had to say about this scam in relation to the Black community at the time, which, if true, is very telling. As always, it had more to do with maintaining class and racial divides than resolving them:

          “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again.”

          https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-democratic-partys-two_b_933995

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      2. “What makes it worse for us in the West is the imbedded nature of it and additional cloaking—so that it is not obvious to the average person.”

        You can think intense brainwashing from birth to death due to government/media propaganda and collusion. Here’s a great video telling us the true purpose of public education:

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The U.S. education system is also one of their profitable rackets, now grossing at $800 billion. Much of it comes from government sources, primarily at the federal level – now almost $640 billion.

          Total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States were $800 billion in 2018–19 (in constant 2020–21 dollars).1 This amounts to $15,621 per public school pupil enrolled in the fall of that year. “

          https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp

          “Each year federal agencies receive funding from Congress, known as budgetary resources . In FY 2022, the Department of Education (ED) had $637.70 Billion distributed among its 10 sub-components.”

          https://www.usaspending.gov/agency/department-of-education?fy=2022

          Altogether, this racket makes $1,437,700,000,000 for the “education” sector, if my math is correct. Here are the list of primary beneficiaries from this massive scam, among them Pearson Education and Conduent Education Solutions, Llc that makes tens of billions in annual profits from this scam:

          https://www.news.conduent.com/news/conduent-announces-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2021-financial-results

          https://incfact.com/company/pearsoneducation-hoboken-nj

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          1. You are a bit impenetrable, I have noticed over time, making statements rather than offering arguments, having it all figured out, when you do not. You’ve miles to go, sir. Miles to go before you sleep.

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            1. I think the figures should already tell everyone the reasons why that’s the case, but I can argue that they like our shitty education system the way it is because it is PROFITABLE for them. Plus, a dumbed down population is easier to control.

              But what do you think?

              Like

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