Society Magazine

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

Posted on the 11 May 2019 by Lugalcain @ur_sheep

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

I.

There was a time when finding information was a time-consuming and often fruitless enterprise. When the local library was of no help, getting needed facts required ordering material from other libraries, the process oftentimes taking weeks and even months to accomplish. Many times more, even when we were able to get the materials we thought we needed, we would find they were no help to us after all, and often we would have to repeat the process many times over again. Research at that time required not only mental acumen, but also at least of bit of physical stamina, and a whole lot of patience.

Today, thanks to the internet, one can assemble a 20-page bibliography in a matter of hours. Information may be obtained that is literally up to the minute, and what is going on at a website written in a language you cannot understand can be translated before your eyes with the click of a button. Clearly, for anyone involved in it, today is the Golden Age of Research.

Now it soon dawns on the researcher that this easily-accessed information is not all alike in quality. To be blunt about it, there is so much information and data now available that is inconsistent and even contradictory, most importantly with regard to what are supposed to be matters of fact, that whether this recent explosion of information is of any benefit at all becomes a legitimate question. More and more professional and backyard “theorists” and “researchers” alike cherry-pick from among the voluminous published fruits to present their ideal dishes, which almost always look better on paper than when tasted in real life.

The primary problem seems to me that, perhaps encouraged by this recent carnival-like influx of of data, we have forgotten to recognize the very important differences between facts and opinions. Not just because of the recent philosophical trends (or we should say, “anti-philosophical trends”) to do away with the idea of “absolute truth”, too many of us believe wrong things, and today it is easy to find confirmation of these wrong ideas, reinforcing the fallacies.

What we need today, in this world of non-stop communication, is to know the facts. More specifically, we need to learn how to separate facts from alleged facts, and to treat them accordingly.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

So then, what I tell you I want you to be sure to check with any sources you like, this is a recommendation easy now to accomplish. Because whatever anyone else will tell you, be it it the government, or its Gallup polls, or your professor, or your pastor, few of them will tell you the way it is using facts alone. Most of them will use their platform to grind their axe, all of them will skew the results to fit their agendas. Well I have no agenda, no particular horn to toot, and am prejudiced only against lies, but at the same time I am growing weary of incompetence and special interests educating my children and grandchildren and running my nation, and the powers-that-be’s wasting of valuable resources in trying to convert the known world by hook or by crook to a certain ideology.

As an American teen, visiting Europe, I was received like an ambassador, people literally standing in line to ask me about my country. Today I can visit those same European nations and will have to spend most of my time having to convince my hosts that I am not one of the typical ignorant, arrogant, godless, intrusive, and murderous heathens they assume most modern day Americans to be. I must tell them it is not my choice to patrol the globe, or to try and dictate world policy, that it was not my fault that my country sent covert operatives to cause problems in their country, and so on. I have to defend the actions of the idiots acting on my behalf. As I have said before, I am a nobody, and if the way things are run could in any way be described as rational and logical, nay, even sane, I would shut my mouth and go back to tilling my garden. But when the alleged leaders and presidents and chairmen and superintendents act as heathens and barbarians, buttressed by doublespeak and conflicts of interest (to say the least…) for some reason that muzzle just won’t stay on me.

To propagate this acceptance of inanity we people are kept divided not just one nation to another but within our own nations as well. Governments and businesses feud with each other, and the people pay the price in taxation, inflation, crime, oppression, and of course bloodshed. All this while the Reserve Banks control the finances and get rich on the carnage. Never-ending war is allowed to continue even where there is no money to finance it or will to fight, because only in this way can the nation remain in debt and continue to borrow its way to becoming a ward of the 62 richest men in the world that have more money and assets than half the world.  So much is this the case that despite America declaring no war since the hours after Pearl Harbor, nevertheless it has engaged since then in military excursions involving millions of dead all over the world, accruing in the process trillions of dollars in borrowed debt, including but not limited to “operations” in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya, various Latin American nations, and so on. All these wars have been undeclared, which is technically illegal. Whether we should be attacking or sanctioning other nations which have really done no damage or harm to us is never asked of the common people, or even of Congress as required by the Constitution. Instead, and always since World War II, we are given ethereal, covert, and ideological reasons to explain what is really by objective fact nothing more than imperialism by one nation, and no other, that has been imposing its will by force on other countries for the last 70 years.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

II.

It should be, when we meet someone unknown to us on the street, a stranger, we should recognize a possible acquaintance, a future friend, at the very least another free human like us whom we should treat as such. Instead, because of the paranoia instilled by the Bad News Mongers and the media in general, and the hatred spewed by the extremists and radicals on both ends of the spectrum, plus the spontaneity of the information now possible whereby – rather than making us immediately aware of the great deeds done that day, and the breakthroughs good for society, and all the acts of courage in the past 24 hours – we are instead informed of every act of violence and prospective looming danger that can be scrounged up and thrown at us, feeding the fear and multiplying the hostilities…and so instead we view the stranger suspiciously, and view him or her as an enemy.

Rather than try and contain the divisive fires, there is a seeming agenda today to, by the use of long-winded speeches and toxic unstable chemicals, stoke those fires and increase the damage. America is divided primarily by an illusion of party lines, based on the false dichotomies democrat-republican and conservative-liberal, and to a lesser extent, by race and creed. All this keeps us from coming to the awareness that as long as most of the available money and wealth in the world is concentrated in certain pockets [sic.] we can never hope to achieve a balance, or true egalitarianism of opportunity. A 1 percent interest drawn annually on a 1000 dollar bank account amounts to little, but that same 1 percent drawn on a billion dollars equates to a fortune. When over 80 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 30 have less that 500 dollars in the bank, there can be no doubt about economic factors being a major problem.

Now, as we are distracted by those forces which have divided us by political allegiance, and by gender, and by race, and by religion, and by status, evidenced no less than by two years of political he said-she said political mumbo-jumbo costing us millions in unnecessary expense and months of legislative time where otherwise issues of merit might be discussed, in the eyes of the world we have become seen now not only as aggressive and intrusive but also as a laughing stock. At the same time, it is obvious that the American people have become so desperate to separate themselves from a self-serving and otherwise ploddingly inefficient government that in recent years they have chosen unknowns, actors, and clowns – rather than the run-of-the-mill suit – to be their commander-in-chief.

All I want to get through to you in this chapter is that you need to wade through it all to get to certain facts. The first one, for example, is that the United States is a divided nation, and the same is true of nearly every nation there is. It is vital to understand that there are many issues in life which can serve to divide people, and it is known for fact that these psychological and sociological factors can be manipulated to influence thought in certain directions. You are manipulated daily by advertising and the media, the bread and circuses which provide the distractions while those 63 individuals, and the thousands more in the running, buy your representatives, your businesses, your elections, and sometimes even what you take to be your truths, and your science.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

In actuality, one’s personal standing on immigration, and trade, and gun control, and abortion, and the military, and education, and conservation, and all issues of merit, is probably not the same across the board as anyone else’s, and probably, were we to be honest, we would have to admit our views do not always align with a certain consistent platform or ideology. We all have positions on issues that, despite what we have been taught and are continually told, are not so easily pigeon-holed. So, you say you are against the idea of anything like a ban-able “hate speech”. Does this make you left, or right, politically? Conservative or liberal, exactly? The problem becomes most noticeable when people form into or join groups and let that group’s mentality, or ideology, speak for them. The differences between republicans and democrats, as well as between the left and the right, are illusory, as they are little more than catch-all ways to make the people concentrate on arguing and fighting with each other rather than with their more-trouble-than-it’s-worth corrupted government.

III.

Let’s look at some more real facts, which you might consider a base upon which to form your own conclusions.

  1. Today in America there are approximately 329 million people.
  2. 22% of these American citizens, or about 72.4 million, are under the age of 18; 16% or about 52.6 million are aged 65 or older; 8% or 26.3 million are disabled.
  3. Only about 177 million US citizens are working taxpayers.
  4. Of America’s 177 million workers, 4.2 million are known Federal Government workers and about 17 million work at other government jobs.
  5. If the current unemployment rate is 3.8% as claimed, there are currently 6.2 million unemployed workers.
  6. So in a country of close to 330 million people, slightly over 150 million workers pay all the taxes.
  7. For the years 2004 to 2019, between 27% (2004, 2005) and 47% (2013, 2014) of Americans consider themselves Independent; between 20% (in 2013) and 39% (in 2004) of Americans consider themselves Republicans; and between 25% (2017) and 39% (2008) consider themselves Democrats.
  8. The top 1% of income earners in the world own about half of all the wealth.
  9. To be in the top 1%, you must have net worth of about $770,000.
  10. The 2,153 known billionaires in the world possess 8.7 trillion dollars in wealth. According to Business Insider, the Bank For International Settlements claims there is only about 5 trillion dollars in the world…but this article also says the CIA claims there is 80 trillion in “broad money”, meaning money which an be leveraged or borrowed against. This is mostly because of what is known as Fractional Banking, that ludicrous theory that a financial institution can lend out ten times more that its actual reserves, a fact exploited countless times in the past by these banks to manipulate markets, prices, and the economy.

Know also that the largest businesses in the world, owned by the richest people, pay little or no taxes at all, and that most of the wealthiest enterprises make nothing tangible, operate in the red, yet are somehow still worth these billions. For me and you this seems like a paradox. For Trump, and those like him who exploit a tax system meant to even the table, this is considered good business. Whereas the old game system was to accumulate money, the key to succeeding in today’s game, and accumulate riches, is a combination of accumulating credit while making sure your businesses show losses.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

These facts in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of these wealthiest people, 10 would seem a good number. This information is from the Forbes list.

  1. JEFF BEZOS: Founder of Amazon, a company which will not only not pay ANY taxes this year, but will receive a 129 million dollar Federal Tax refund. Has also benefited from extremely discounted postage rates, costing everyone else and making the playing field unfair for everyone else. Amazon also makes little and is mostly a retailer. Despite his business paying no tax, Bezos is said to be worth 131 billion dollars.
  2. BILL GATES: Started Microsoft, currently diversifies, smartly invested nearly his entire fortune in the tax-exempt Gates Foundation. He has, however, paid a lot of taxes in the past. Currently he makes nothing, adding nothing to the economy, and he has recently started up a trillion dollar energy company. His current worth is about 97 billion dollars.
  3. WARREN BUFFET: Prolific investor, owns Duracell, Dairy Queen, Phillips 66, Charter Communications, US Bancorp, and all the Berkshire Hathaway businesses. While he has pledged to donate most of his wealth (99% in fact is the claim…), we should pay attention to what Matthew Frankel says in the Motley Fool:

Last year [2016], Warren Buffett reported about $11.6 million in gross income on his tax return, and paid $1.85 million in federal income taxes. His 16% effective tax rate already sounds low, until you consider that his net worth increased by $12 billion in 2016. In fact, Warren Buffett’s tax rate as a percent of his wealth is a paltry 0.002%.

It’s only income when you sell, and apparently this is how your net worth can go up by multiple billions while you only pay taxes (and not much at that) on 12 million dollars. It’s not difficult to donate money (mostly to Gates’s foundation…) when you didn’t do anything to earn that money in the first place. I wonder if anyone, including Buffett, even knows where this big increase came from, other than”market analysts” – the real key to these insanely rich success stories – that and old money. Buffett is worth about 82 billion dollars.

4. BERNARD ARNAULT: Owner of Louis Vuitton, Sephora, and more. Has recently attempted to relocate to Belgium in effort to escape France’s new 75% tax rate on incomes over 1 million Euros. He is charitable and has pledged millions to restoring Notre Dame Cathedral. He is worth about 76 billion dollars.

5. CARLOS “SLIM” HELU: Owns America Movil, communications companies, and 17% of the New York Times. He is of Lebanese descent and is currently the richest man in Mexico. Most of his money came through stocks and stock trading. Donated 10 billion dollars to his own foundation and millions to the Clinton Global Initiative. He is worth about 64 billion dollars.

6. AMANCIO ORTEGA: Owns various fashion chains and brands and is said to be the “wealthiest retailer in the world”. Has over 7,500 stores around the world and earns over 400 million dollars in dividends alone in the average year. He is currently accused of evading taxes in Spain. He is also often the object of exploitation complaints by employees. His reported income last year was 117,140 dollars, yet he is said to be worth about 62 billion dollars.

7. LARRY ELLISON: Founder of Oracle, investor, and major shareholder in Tesla Motors. He has also capitalized on the open source MySQL database system. He is worth about 62.5 billion dollars. According to Wikipedia:

In 2005, Oracle Corporation paid Ellison a $975,000 salary, a $6,500,000 bonus, and other compensation of $955,100.[17] In 2007, Ellison earned a total compensation of $61,180,524, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of $8,369,000, and options granted of $50,087,100.[18] In 2008, he earned a total compensation of $84,598,700, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of $10,779,000, no stock grants, and options granted of $71,372,700.[19] In the year ending May 31, 2009, he made $56.8 million.[20] In 2006, Forbes ranked him as the richest Californian.[3] In April 2009, after a tug-of-war with IBM and Hewlett-Packard, Oracle announced its intent to buy Sun Microsystems.[21] On July 2, 2009, for the fourth year in a row, Oracle’s board awarded Ellison another 7 million stock options.[22] On August 22, 2009, it was reported that Ellison would be paid only $1 for his base salary for the fiscal year of 2010, down from the $1,000,000 he was paid in fiscal 2009.[20][23]

8. MARK ZUCKERBERG: Founder of Facebook, Zuckerberg, like Gates and Buffett, has pledged to give up 99% of his wealth in his lifetime. In the end Facebook produces nothing, only runs servers, the entire business is intangible and its income suspect. Let me explain a bit how this cyber-business wealth is accumulated. Let’s say you own Google and I own Facebook. I sell advertising space to you for whatever rate (there is no guideline…) on my website, one million dollars worth, let’s say, and you sell me the same amount on your website. No money ever changes hands, no materials need be produced, no real money investment paid, yet we both might claim a million dollar income, and our websites increase in value accordingly. When you consider often dozens of cyber-businesses often co-operate in this way, it is easy to see how enterprises which sell nothing and really are nothing in the real world can accrue value.

Anyway, Facebook earned 12.5 billion dollars pre-tax net last year, and regarding this, according to ITEP.org:

Since Facebook became a public company, its annual revenues have increased by 250 percent from around $8 billion in 2013 to nearly $28 billion last year.[i] In the same time period, the company’s before-tax profits shot up four-and-a-half fold to $12.5 billion.[ii]But in this time it has also managed to avoid billions of dollars in U.S. taxes.

Over eight years, Facebook paid less than half the statutory corporate tax rate.

Between 2010 and 2015, Facebook had pre-tax U.S. profits of $14.8 billion, on which it paid 16.5 percent in U.S. taxes—less than half the official U.S. corporate tax rate.[iii] And in three of these years, Facebook paid no taxes at all to the United States Treasury.[iv]

One tax loophole that Facebook has led the pack in exploiting is the “stock option loophole.” Facebook and other big corporations often compensate their executives with stock options (options to purchase shares of company stock at a discounted rate). When those options are exercised, the company is allowed to deduct from its taxable income the difference between the value of the shares and what the employee pays for the stock, even though the company doesn’t have to spend anything to provide the stock option to its executives. Between 2010 and 2015, Facebook saved $5.8 billion in taxes through the stock option loophole.[v] This means that American taxpayers have subsidized massive compensation packages for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s other executives.

Facebook also likely has avoided U.S. taxes by claiming that $2.9 billion of the company’s profits were earned offshore, and are “permanently reinvested” outside the United States.  Some fraction of the company’s offshore profits may reside in Facebook’s subsidiaries in known foreign tax havens such as Ireland and Singapore.[vi]

Zuckerberg is said to be worth 62.3 billion dollars.

9. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Owner of financial/media company Bloomberg LP and former mayor of New York City who violated the 2-term limit to serve 3 times. Vows to spend 500 million dollars to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. He and his companies are often involved in corruption scandals. Constantly argues against taxes on the rich and more taxes on the poor. It should be added that many of the other richest men on this list are on record as saying that they should be paying more taxes. Bloomberg is worth about 55.5 billion dollars.

10. LARRY PAGE: Co-founded Google with Sergey Brin (also on the list), and co-inventor of the page-rank algorithm used by Google. Like many billionaires he works for one dollar (yes, $1) a year. That and, of course, expenses accrued and paid for by their corporations. What better way to stay tax-free? Page is worth about 51 billion dollars.

Add it up, and include the 52 next highest net worth individuals, and you see where the money is, and more specifically, how many billions of dollars in prospective revenue nations are losing through tax loopholes, a system that recently exposed President Trump as in the red and as officially losing billions, yet like the rest is still filthy rich.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

What kind of system is this? This is not the “if you work hard you will get ahead” ethic drummed into our heads as kids. You can be the best plumber/roofer/teacher and work your tail off and never come near this type of money. Sure, some especially on the tech industry, got lucky more or less, but let’s remember that their products are not sold to the consumer, their end products are given away, which use also propels their value.

In America, among these big money individuals, we must at least mention the many professional athletes and entertainers who also earn, while not billions yearly, and so not quite the amount of money to make the Forbes 500 list, still plenty enough to skew the income mean of the entire nation.

Now theoretically, if it operates as it should, that being with a 50% tax rate on incomes over 1 million dollars, the government loves to see individuals earning high salaries. Every time someone makes a million dollars, the government makes 500 thousand dollars, when someone earns 2 million, the government rakes in 1 million, and so the possibility of federal subsidies for some for these high salaries should be suspected. The sad fact is, though, that the “moderately rich”, those who earn 1 to 10 million dollars a year, usually are the ones paying the actual required 50%, while the really rich – the Forbes 500 and the next 500 below them – usually pay little to nothing.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

IV.

Now consider the facts and realize our battle, the battle for the future, is not about our fighting with each other over what constitutes proper speech or what is a gender, or whether red is better than blue or left better than right, or whether fascism is any different than forced democracy. Our task is to come together to rid ourselves of the people who are supposed to be making decisions to benefit the entire nation but are instead making decisions to benefit certain people and enterprises. At present, our strategic occupations and bases all over the globe, our hand in the political elections and economic decisions of every major nation, our stirring up of rebels and bombing of every nation who dares disagree with us, are costing us our money and our reputation, while doing little to address the economic disparity in our own nation which grows greater by the day.

Left and right, conservative-democrat, fascist-communist, socialist-capitalist, these are illusory distinctions, myths in need of debunking. What one does and what one believes are and should be individual decisions determined by reason and facts, not by trendy ideas or various platforms and ideologies. The state of the union is now such that the majority of the American people, who consider themselves independents, and as the recent elections have shown, are tired of the standard suits, the well-dressed image of corruption. The fact is taxes paid by the 170 million or so taxpayers is simply not enough to maintain the needs of the nation while at the same time financing unnecessary and mostly corporate or finance-driven hostilities. We don’t have the resources any longer to support these intrusions.  To make ends meet, what happens is more and more it is the needed services that are being eliminated, rather than the imperialist activities. When we cannot balance the books – which, incidentally, is what we pay our representatives to do – they instead, in our name, borrow yet more money from private bankers, and we can see by this fact who it is that really runs this show.

If we do not get away from this bipartisan government, and divorce ourselves from this scourge, this Leviathan will continue to grow in scope and control until the average citizen is forced to change the way he or she plays the game. Blacks asking for reparations from people who never held slaves, current students already asking for loan forgiveness, illegal aliens seeking citizenship the easy way, being paid a larger dole the more dependents you have and handicapped you claim to be, demanding I sacrifice my free speech because you got your poor feelings hurt, and so on, all these will increase in the future as more and more people learn to “play” a system which now rewards uselessness, exploiting loopholes, and incompetency more than hard work. Scams, schemes, borderline frauds, tricked purchases, hidden fees, all these and more now have become “legitimate” business practices.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

V.

Today, whining is at an all-time high. Feminists and other alleged leftists still erroneously call ours a patriarchal society, and speak about being oppressed, but none of them will admit that it being “so hard” to break in is something men have faced for years, that men have had to fight and claw and take risks to get ahead or indeed, get in the positions they are now in. Self-described Right-wingers moan about too much government but yet applaud military interventions, are silent on corporate monopolies, and never acknowledge that all government is a type of socialism. Because of this confusion, the young today, living in the most comfortable time in history, act as if they are entitled to status and position, as if everyone ought get a natural turn at control without doing anything to merit any of it. Those who fail to attain their desires, or who don’t like to fight for what they want, blame circumstances beyond their control rather then their own ineptitude for not achieving what they feel they deserve; a lifestyle is assumed a natural right rather than something one assures by establishing the conditions for it.

So, considering where we currently stand, for posterity’s sake now permit me to say more. We are allowed to vote, but only for those who are given enough media exposure, or with enough money in backing, to make our acquaintance. Other nations, for example might have only one “Party”, but several candidates for every office. We claim to have a multi-party system but only two are permitted to run a candidate in every election without requirements such as signatures and certain amount of following. Furthermore, those who are our “possibilities” are themselves financed, if not chosen, by the oligarchs and bankers whose dealings depend on internal government support.

From free bumper stickers to 100 bucks-a-plate fried chicken dinners, well-financed political campaigns capitalize on the limitations of any simple democracy and use cheap advertisements and psychological as well as logical ploys to capture what can only be termed “the ignorant vote”, and this in a time when it has also been shown that any election can be altered electronically, and remotely. The Union is still without a universal health care option, we continue to patrol and order the world, and donate money abroad while many American cities are currently no less than slums, some so bad police and criminals alone hesitate to drive through them. “Representatives” and their commentators prattle on about costs for needed services the sum total of which for one year do not exceed that required for one coordinated raid on some supposed terrorist leader, some of those rockets costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment alone.

XVI. The Real State Of The Union, 2019

In short, we do not have money to scare, threaten, and bomb the rest of the world, so we borrow it, in the name of the American citizens, and do so anyway. Currently we can find the money to forcefully manipulate the oil markets in Iran and Venezuela, have enough resources to blockade international trade, somehow think it worthwhile to bomb every Middle Eastern nation that resents our interference, but for the life of us can’t finance adequate schools and hospitals.

Let me close with this because I am tired of hearing about it. Do you know what socialism is? It is an ideology, like any other ideology. Some things may be said to be “socialist”, like, for example, government itself. The very idea of government, it must be understood, is a socialist concept. When something is social it concerns society, and it has been decided, rightly so given the state of our culture or lack thereof, that anarchy is undesirable, and that society must be somehow controlled. This control is accomplished by what is called government, and all this for maintaining the public good.

Government itself, I say again, is SYNONYMOUS with control, for without this authority, what good is it? This being so, by its very existence government creates laws and the institutions which support and enforce these laws and institutions, costing us all along the way, from mortgages and rents, salaries and plane trips, to paper, pencils, and printer ink. That today the government controls too many things it should not, and does not control the things it should, is the problem in a nutshell. Think of all the things the government now controls and maintains, from how you drive, to what you pay in taxes and fees, to the schooling, and indeed, raising of your child (car seats anyone?), to the inspections the people say they need, and so on. That the government runs things is a tautological statement.

If then this is also fact, or true as I intend, then to say things like price controls on medications, or earnings caps, or universal health care, or controlling the costs of necessities and monopolized services and goods, “are wrong” simply by reason of their being “socialist” is pure nonsense. You don’t have to be a Commie to want universal health care, and you shouldn’t be made to feel like one when you are paying your share of taxes that are going to mostly unsavory causes. Break out of the left-right, democrat-republican, us and them charade. Be an individual and don’t compromise that for anyone, or any institution.

Having set the stage in this way, next time I will discuss Nietzsche, symbolic of someone whose ideas have been perverted, and used selectively and erroneously, to promote certain agendas.


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