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 »

Guns, Media, and Money

Guns, Media, and Money

The United States was built upon five things that are biting us hard in the ass right now: 1. A literally religious mythology of divine favor. 2. A culture founded entirely upon buying and selling goods. 3. A revolution conducted by eloquent idealists who also owned slaves. 4. The slavery and genocide of everyone who dared to get in the way of the first three elements. 5. A conflux of mass media, technology and literacy unknown in the world until that point. That mass-media – from broadsides to newspapers to TV to the internet – has sold Americans the impression Read more »

An Avatar, not an Aberration

An Avatar, not an Aberration

This gunman is anything but “alone.” This smug little monster took the words of Ted Nugent, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Megyn Kelly, Phil Robertson, Laura Ingram, and so forth at face value and then he turned them into action. To pretend otherwise is to ignore mountains of evidence at hand. Sure, those “entertainers” can gasp in shock and winge about how THEY never said any such things. (Personally, I doubt Nugent would say that, though; he’s probably raising funds for the bastard’s defense even as we speak.). But whether or not they choose to Read more »

Not Sanskrit for "Doormat"

Not Sanskrit for "Doormat"

Recently – especially within the last week or so – I’ve had a number of folks tell me that they used to idolize me and my work for opening their minds, and yet they’re somehow surprised that I feel disgusted and enraged by sexism, racism, homophobia, and the willful ignorance that leads to such behavior. Anyone who feels that I should turn a blind eye to abusive behavior has missed the point of my work. Yes, I believe in having an open mind. I have also – in all of my work – stressed that actions and choices have consequences. Read more »

Murder, Terrorism, Treason – Call Them What They Are

Murder, Terrorism, Treason – Call Them What They Are

MURDER. (a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Every murder perpetrated by poison, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated killing; or committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson, escape, murder, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse, child abuse, burglary, or robbery; or perpetrated as part of a pattern or practice of assault or torture against a child or children; or perpetrated from a premeditated design unlawfully and maliciously to effect the death of any human being other than him Read more »

It IS About Race

It IS About Race

You can say that this is not about race. But you’d be wrong. Oh, it’s not ONLY about race. It’s also about economic class warfare, militarized police forces, the profitability of fear-based mass media, and the pervasive culture of bullying, selfish entitlement that has been sold to us under the guise of “American values,” especially within the last decade or so. But it IS about race. American cops do not drive up to, attack, assault and then murder white kids in the street, in broad daylight, and believe they can get away with it. Police forces do not close ranks, arrest Read more »

"BRAINS!!!"

"BRAINS!!!"

The Zombie, as an archetype, is perhaps the most socio-political monster of them all. It says, in effect, “Your neighbors want to kill you, so maybe you should kill them first.” Although its many cultural incarnations all reflect the universal fear of dead, the last 150 years have seen this archetypal monster [1] assume forms that seem especially relevant to the modern/ post modern era. (“BRAIIIIIIINS!” From Return of the Living Dead, the source of the whole “zombies eat brains” thing.)  Until the 1800s, the Vampire archetypes of early legends were essentially zombies: shambling, rotting dead folks who had returned 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 »

Mystic Rhythms: Anything Goes (Music, Magic & History, Part IV)

Mystic Rhythms: Anything Goes (Music, Magic & History, Part IV)

The sound is the freedom. The chord don’t mean nothing.– Ornette Coleman, interviewed in Andrew Zuckerman’s book Music   (Image from Powerchords: Music, Magick & Urban Fantasy; art by Bryan Syme) If blues is the Devil’s music, then its offspring – jazz, country, soul and rock – are its four horsemen. Thundering across electric highways, these fertile musicologies plunder everything they find. Jazz shares the outlaw origins of blues, but focuses more on instrumental prowess than personal catharsis. Supposedly named for sexual intercourse, jazz takes the most sensual elements of European, African and American music, and then heats them to 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 »