High Taxes and American Greatness

High Taxes and American Greatness

The Golden Era of American Greatness occurred in large part thanks to the highest taxes in U.S. history, as shown in the graph below [1]. Those taxes paid for an unprecedented national infrastructure, massive technological innovations, advanced education, a relatively effective government, social programs to stave off another Great Depression, and the most powerful military forces in human history. Those sky-high taxes were mitigated by a complex system of exemptions. Taxpayers (corporate and otherwise) who invested money back into the country – and who thus sustained the economy and society with methods other than government tax-funds – could lower their Read more »

Mystic Rhythms: Rumble (Music, Magic & History, Part V)

Mystic Rhythms: Rumble (Music, Magic & History, Part V)

If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars. – attributed to Sam Phillips, owner of  the Memphis Recording Service, and the man who “discovered” Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (incidentally, Phillips denied having ever said this) (Arguably the first rock-n-roll recording, Ike Turner’s “Rocket ’88′”) It starts with the blues riffing of a poor boy named Bo Diddly. It rises in the duck-strut of a handsome dude named Chuck Berry. It ignites when a white truck driver catches “that Negro sound” in the gyrations of his Read more »

Art is Work; Work has Value

Art is Work; Work has Value

(Image by Evangeline Neo of Evacomics; used by permission. See http://www.eva.sg/.) Art is work.  This is true of all artists: writers, musicians, dancers, photographers, actors, filmmakers, and so on and so on. All of it demands skilled labor, training, materials, passion, and an obsessive devotion that gobbles unimaginable amounts of time and focus. Art is not a plaything. It does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot happen without struggle and dedication to one’s craft. An artist must love the art, but cannot survive to DO that art on love alone. Art is not “data.” It can be playful, but the Read more »

"Not Part of the 99%"? You're Fooling Yourself

"Not Part of the 99%"? You're Fooling Yourself

“I’m not part of the 99%.” That’s the catch-phrase of a counter-protest that misunderstands the entire nature of the Occupy movement. Buying the lies that 99% activists are just a bunch of unemployed hippies looking for handouts, people like the following young student trumpet their work-ethics, and chide the rest of us for not being them. (Later, after this essay was originally posted, the sign-holder’s claims were utterly debunked. Go figure…) Parodying the various signs held by Occupy demonstrators, this picture epitomizes a view that misses the entire point of the protests. “The 99%” does not refer to people who Read more »