Friday, October 31, 2014

Norah Jones & Marian McPartland - I Can't Get Started (With You)

I've Got the World on a String - Marian McPartland

A Foggy Day - Marian McPartland

In A Mellow Tone by Marian McPartland & Dizzy Gillespie

There Will Never Be Another You - Marian McPartland

Texas teen lured to skate park for gay-bashing, then insulted by cops: activists

It seems we are not only raising a bunch of morons (or "morans"), but a bunch of EVIL morons.  Please follow link to orignal.

Civil rights activists say police in Texas have not properly investigated the brutal gay-bashing of a teenager, and they’re asking the FBI to file hate crime charges in the case.
Dylan Beard bit through his tongue and suffered chipped teeth, a broken nose, a black eye, and other injuries when he was beaten by two friends and a 17-year-old girl, reported the Houston Chronicle.
The teen said he was invited to join some friends Oct. 12 at a Baytown skate park when the group attacked him, punching and kicking him as they called him a “f*ggot” and “booty lover.”
The assailants then bragged about the attack on social media, the teen’s supporters said.
Activists said Baytown police have ignored some witnesses to the attack and openly insulted Beard because he is gay.
A spokesman for the department said police “are taking steps (and) reaching out” to Beard, saying the teen was invited to speak to detectives and internal affairs investigators.
The spokesman said a police report was filed and the girl was cited for misdemeanor assault.
He was unaware of allegations that officers used homophobic slurs to describe Beard or whether the teens had bragged about the attack on social media.
Beard, who is homeschooled, said he knew his assailants, but not very well, and they had never attacked or insulted him before.

‘Religious zealot’ nearly beheads teen ‘witch’ after watching Christian videos: police

This from "Raw Story" - follow link to original. 

Fundamentalist preachers ALL have blood on their hands.

A “religious zealot” in Oklahoma nearly beheaded an acquaintance in a brutal slaying after watching Christian videos, police said.
Isaiah Marin was playing cards Wednesday afternoon with his brother and the victim, 19-year-old Jacob Crockett, at an apartment in Stillwater.
Police said the 21-year-old Marin was watching online videos “related to his Christian beliefs and the Book of Matthew” before he picked up a sword and began swinging it around.
His brother told him to be careful, and then he told police that Marin stabbed Crockett in the chest.
Marin’s brother said the suspect had argued with Crockett in the past because the victim and his brother, Jesse, “were practicing witchcraft and Isaiah had strong Christian beliefs.”
Samuel Marin fled from the apartment, police said, and his brother ran after him and promised to explain why he had killed the teen in letters from jail.
Police said Isaiah Marin called 911 and confessed that he had “murdered someone,” before rambling about magic and sacrifices.
“I hacked them to death with a machete,” Marin told dispatchers.
Police found Marin walking along a state highway, covered in blood and carrying a long knife.
Marin said he had fantasized about killing four or five people, including Crockett, police said.
Investigators said Crockett, who was the son of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer, had been nearly decapitated in the attack.
Jesse Crockett, the victim’s brother, said Marin was a “heavy drug user” and “religious zealot.”
Police said the case had no religious implications and was not related to recent beheadings by Islamic extremists — including an attack by a Muslim convert at an Oklahoma food plant.
Marin, a student at Northern Oklahoma College who intended to transfer to Oklahoma State University, was charged with first-degree murder and remains held without bail.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Empathy Deficit Disorder

Latest column from Robert Reich - follow link to original.

These Republicans are INSANE!

Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska’s Republican Congressman Don Young said suicide didn’t exist in Alaska before “government largesse” gave residents an entitlement mentality.
“When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn’t have the suicide problem,” he said. Government handouts tell people “you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing.”
Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in America – almost twice the national average, and a leading cause of death in Alaska for young people ages 15 to 24 — but I doubt it’s because Alaskans lead excessively easy lives.
Every time I visit Alaska I’m struck by how hard people there have to work to make ends meet. The state is the last American frontier, where people seem more self-reliant than anywhere in the lower forty eight.
It’s true that every Alaskan receives an annual dividend from a portion of state oil revenues (this year it will be almost $2,000 per person), but research shows no correlation between the amount of the dividend from year to year and the suicide rate.
Suicide is a terrible tragedy for those driven to it and for their loved ones. What possessed Congressman Young to turn it into a political football?
Young has since apologized for his remark. Or, more accurately, his office has apologized. “Congressman Young did not mean to upset anyone with his well-intentioned message,” says a news release from his congressional office, “and in light of the tragic events affecting the Wasilla High School community, he should have taken a much more sensitive approach.”
Well-intentioned? More sensitive approach?
Young’s comment would be offensive regardless of who uttered it. That he’s a member of the United States Congress — Alaska’s sole representative in the House – makes it downright alarming.
You might expect someone who’s in the business of representing others to have a bit more empathy. In fact, you’d think empathy would be the minimum qualification to hold public office in a democracy.
Sadly, Young is hardly alone. A remarkable number of people who are supposed to be devoting their lives to representing others seem clueless about how their constituents actually live and what they need.
Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie groused to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage.”
No doubt some in the audience shared Christie’s view. It was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, after all.
But many of the Governor’s constituents are not tired of hearing about the minimum wage. They depend on it.
New Jersey has among the largest number of working poor in America. Some 50,000 people work for the state’s minimum wage of $8.25 an hour.
This isn’t nearly enough to lift them out of poverty. The state’s cost of living is one of the five highest of all states.
In any event, doesn’t hearing from constituents about what they need go with the job of representing them?
Christie went on to tell his audience “I don’t think there’s a mother or a father sitting around the kitchen table tonight in America saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.’ Is that what parents aspire to?”
A minimum-wage job is no one’s version of the American dream. But Christie is wrong to suppose most minimum-wage workers are teenagers. Most are adults who are major breadwinners for their families.
Christie seems to suffer the same ailment that afflicts Alaska’s Don Young.
Call it Empathy Deficit Disorder. Some Democrats have it, but the disorder seems especially widespread among Republicans.
These politicians have no idea what people who are hard up in America are going through.
Most Americans aren’t suicidal, and most don’t work at the minimum wage. But many are deeply anxious about their jobs and panicked about how they’re going to pay next month’s bills.
Almost two-thirds of working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
And they’re worried sick about whether their kids will ever make it.
They need leaders who understand their plight instead of denying it.
They deserve politicians who want to fix it rather than blame it on those who have to depend on public assistance, or who need a higher minimum wage, in order to get by.
At the very least, they need leaders who empathize with what they’re going through, not those with Empathy Deficit Disorder.

The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster by Justin Elliott and Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan, NPR October 29, 2014

Please follow this link to "Pro Publica".  It documents the massive failure of The Red Cross after Sandy and Issac.  Once again it seems we are beset by folks who think the appearance of "action" is more important than anything "real". 

Our society really is falling apart.  I'm not even sure that they mean well.

Since it is a rather long piece, I'll just post a very short excerpt  --  please follow the link to the original.

In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks.
Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job.
They were wrong.
The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The charity’s shortcomings were detailed in confidential reports and internal emails, as well as accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.
What’s more, Red Cross officials at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. compounded the charity’s inability to provide relief by “diverting assets for public relations purposes,” as one internal report puts it. Distribution of relief supplies, the report said, was “politically driven.”
During Isaac, Red Cross supervisors ordered dozens of trucks usually deployed to deliver aid to be driven around nearly empty instead, “just to be seen,” one of the drivers, Jim Dunham, recalls.
“We were sent way down on the Gulf with nothing to give,” Dunham says. The Red Cross’ relief effort was “worse than the storm.”
During Sandy, emergency vehicles were taken away from relief work and assigned to serve as backdrops for press conferences, angering disaster responders on the ground.
After both storms, the charity’s problems left some victims in dire circumstances or vulnerable to harm, the organization’s internal assessments acknowledge. Handicapped victims “slept in their wheelchairs for days” because the charity had not secured proper cots. In one shelter, sex offenders were “all over including playing in children’s area” because Red Cross staff “didn’t know/follow procedures.” ..........................

Monday, October 27, 2014

Charlie Parker-Donna Lee

Miles Davis(trumpet),Charlie Parker(alto sax),Bud Powell(piano),Tommy Potter(bass),MaxRoach(drums).

Charlie Parker - Dizzy Gillespie Rebop Six 1945 ~ Dizzy Atmosphere

Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet
Charlie Parker - Alto Sax
Milt Jackson - Vibraphone
Al Haig - Piano
Ray Brown - Bass
Stan Levey - Drums

Charlie Parker - Modern Jazz Quartet Live 1952 ~ How High The Moon

Charlie Parker - Alto Sax
Milt Jackson - Vibes
John Lewis - Piano
Percy Heath - Bass
Kenny Clarke - Drums

Kansas City

I still think they will lose the World Series!

Ideology and Investment

Dr. Krugman's latest column

America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.
But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.
Some background: More than seven years have passed since the housing bubble burst, and ever since, America has been awash in savings — or more accurately, desired savings — with nowhere to go. Borrowing to buy homes has recovered a bit, but remains low. Corporations are earning huge profits, but are reluctant to invest in the face of weak consumer demand, so they’re accumulating cash or buying back their own stock. Banks are holding almost $2.7 trillion in excess reserves — funds they could lend out, but choose instead to leave idle.
And the mismatch between desired saving and the willingness to invest has kept the economy depressed. Remember, your spending is my income and my spending is your income, so if everyone tries to spend less at the same time, everyone’s income falls.
There’s an obvious policy response to this situation: public investment. We have huge infrastructure needs, especially in water and transportation, and the federal government can borrow incredibly cheaply — in fact, interest rates on inflation-protected bonds have been negative much of the time (they’re currently just 0.4 percent). So borrowing to build roads, repair sewers and more seems like a no-brainer. But what has actually happened is the reverse. After briefly rising after the Obama stimulus went into effect, public construction spending has plunged. Why?
In a direct sense, much of the fall in public investment reflects the fiscal troubles of state and local governments, which account for the great bulk of public investment.
These governments generally must, by law, balance their budgets, but they saw revenues plunge and some expenses rise in a depressed economy. So they delayed or canceled a lot of construction to save cash.
Yet this didn’t have to happen. The federal government could easily have provided aid to the states to help them spend — in fact, the stimulus bill included such aid, which was one main reason public investment briefly increased. But once the G.O.P. took control of the House, any chance of more money for infrastructure vanished. Once in a while Republicans would talk about wanting to spend more, but they blocked every Obama administration initiative.

And it’s all about ideology, an overwhelming hostility to government spending of any kind. This hostility began as an attack on social programs, especially those that aid the poor, but over time it has broadened into opposition to any kind of spending, no matter how necessary and no matter what the state of the economy.
You can get a sense of this ideology at work in some of the documents produced by House Republicans under the leadership of Paul Ryan, the chairman of the Budget Committee. For example, a 2011 manifesto titled “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy” called for sharp spending cuts even in the face of high unemployment, and dismissed as “Keynesian” the notion that “decreasing government outlays for infrastructure lessens government investment.” (I thought that was just arithmetic, but what do I know?) Or take a Wall Street Journal editorial from the same year titled “The Great Misallocators,” asserting that any money the government spends diverts resources away from the private sector, which would always make better use of those resources.
Never mind that the economic models underlying such assertions have failed dramatically in practice, that the people who say such things have been predicting runaway inflation and soaring interest rates year after year and keep being wrong; these aren’t the kind of people who reconsider their views in the light of evidence. Never mind the obvious point that the private sector doesn’t and won’t supply most kinds of infrastructure, from local roads to sewer systems; such distinctions have been lost amid the chants of private sector good, government bad.
And the result, as I said, is that America has turned its back on its own history. We need public investment; at a time of very low interest rates, we could easily afford it. But build we won’t.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WYNTON MARSALIS & JLCO - "Just a Closer Walk with Thee"

J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding - It's alright with me

Sonny Stitt,Howard McGhee,JJ Johnson,Walter Bishop,Tommy Potter,Kenny Clarke."Buzzy

Sonny Stitt Alto Sax,
Howard McGhee Trumpet,
JJ Johnson Trombone,
Walter Bishop Piano.
Tommy Potter Bass,
Kenny Clarke Drums.

Sonny Stitt - Sweet and lovely

Bix Beiderbecke & His Rythm Jugglers - Davenport Blues

Royal Garden Blues -- Bix Beiderbecke 1927

Bix Beiderbecke & The Wolverines - Tiger Rag

Bix Beiderbecke & The Wolverines - Fidgety Feet

Roy Milton - Hop, Skip & Jump

ROY MILTON Information Blues 1949

Doc Pomus - Send For The Doctor

DOC POMUS Give It Up 1951

Magic Slim & the Teardrops - You Got To Pay

Magic Slim & The Teardrops - Buddy Buddy Friend, Bad Boy

Roscoe Holcomb - Mississippi Heavy Water Blues

Roscoe Holcomb "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" (1961)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Rollins/Sonny Stitt-"After Hours" from Sonny Side Up

Pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Tommy Bryant, and drummer Charlie Persip provide the rhythm section.

Easy Living - Sonny Stitt

Sonny Stitt - Sonny's Book

Sonny Stitt (alto & tenor sax)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Don Patterson (organ)
Billy James (drums)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 25, 1964

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Must See TV" -- World Series

Don't forget, the baseball World Series starts tomorrow (Tuesday).  It features the Kansas City Royals and The San Francisco Giants.  The Royals have not been in the series since 1985, while thr Giants WON in 2010 and 2012.

These are two "throwback" teams that feature pitching, speed, and timely hitting.

Looks like a great series.  Even if you are not a baseball fan  --  stifle your bloodlust and AADD (or whatever it is) and give it a glance  --  you might just become a fan.

Core four, core five, core two, and core three

So, the sports folks talk about the N.Y. Yankees "core four" (Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Rivera).  How about the "core five"?  Just add Bernie Williams to the group and you have the real core of those great Yankee teams.  In addition, they would never have been as great without all the "other" players  --  you know, the TEAM.  All those guys that rose to the occasion time after time. 

I recently heard some "sports pundit" talking about the S.F. Giants "core" of Baumgarner and Posey.  How about some love for "The Panda"?  How about those three home runs?  How about his clutch hitting and fielding?  Doesn't any of it elevate him to "the core"?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Salman Rushdie slams ‘Islamophobe’ label: It’s right to be hostile to extremism

This from "Raw Story"  --  please follow link to original.

In a speech denouncing the Islamic extremist group ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and the “hate-filled rhetoric” of Islamic extremism, author Salman Rushdie warned that the world must come to grips with what he called “a new age of religious mayhem” perpetrated by Muslim fanatics.
U.K. news daily The Telegraph reported that Rushdie was addressing the audience at the PEN/Pinter Prize lecture, where he was honored for his achievements in literature. His 1989 book The Satanic Verses was considered blasphemy by hardline Muslims and as a result, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa on Rushdie’s life, meaning that by the dictates of the Muslim faith, the author must be killed.
Rushdie spent several years in hiding from zealots and fanatics who were out to silence him. Now, he said in his speech at the British Library on Sunday night, he sees young British Muslims being seduced by what he called “jihadi-cool” and worries that they will be used as foot soldiers to the nascent ultra-extremist movement forming in Syria and its neighbor Iraq.
In addition to grisly videos of beheadings and televised diatribes against the west, ISIS and its sympathizers have turned to rap videos and Internet screeds. Rushdie sees these recruitment tools as encoded hate speech designed to pull in the disaffected.
“It’s hard not to conclude that this hate-filled religious rhetoric, pouring from the mouths of ruthless fanatics into the ears of angry young men, has become the most dangerous new weapon in the world today,” he said.
“A word I dislike greatly, ‘Islamophobia’, has been coined to discredit those who point at these excesses, by labeling them as bigots,” he went on. “But in the first place, if I don’t like your ideas, it must be acceptable for me to say so, just as it is acceptable for you to say that you don’t like mine. Ideas cannot be ring-fenced just because they claim to have this or that fictional sky god on their side.”
“In the second place,” he said, “it’s important to remember that most of those who suffer under the yoke of the new Islamic fanaticism are other Muslims.”
“It is right to feel phobia towards such matters,” Rushdie declared. “As several commentators have said, what is being killed in Iraq is not just human beings, but a whole culture. To feel aversion towards such a force is not bigotry. It is the only possible response to the horror of events.”
“I can’t, as a citizen, avoid speaking of the horror of the world in this new age of religious mayhem, and of the language that conjures it up and justifies it,” he said.
Other religions have their fanatical branches, the author allowed, but insisted that “the overwhelming weight of the problem lies in the world of Islam, and much of it has its roots in the ideological language of blood and war emanating from the Salafist movement within Islam, globally backed by Saudi Arabia.”

They Built That — On Minimum Wage Submitted by Bud Meyers on October 11, 2014 - 9:42am

This from "The Economic Populist"  --  please follow link to origina

If for no other reason, the Republican party's ABSOLUTE REFUSAL to raise the federal minimum wage should be the best reason for why the GOP should lose the 2016 congressional elections. Republican voters (who might earn more) should understand that, by setting the ground floor for the lowest federally mandated minimum wage, that also puts great pressure on their employers to raise their wages as well. How can their bosses explain to a factory worker in Tennessee (or elsewhere) that McDonalds employees are earning more than they are?
If other businesses (big and small) in other countries can pay their workers better, then why can't our job creators compete with their wages? Across the pond in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) the minimum wage is £6.50 an hour for those 21 years old and over. That's $10.44 an hour in U.S. dollars, and $3.19 more than the current minimum wage is in the U.S. (What's up with that? Do the Brits work harder and longer than we do?)
And our neighbor directly to the north (in the maple leaf country of Canada) has several provinces whose legally mandated minimum wages range from $10.00 to $11.00 per hour, but there's also a movement to raise it higher — to $15 an hour — in part, because of the influence of Seattle Washington when they raised their city's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
And then there's the almighty and "exceptional" United States of America (King of the Hill and Master of the Universe) who's had a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour ($2.13 for tipped workers) for the past 5 years. But our job creators have been attempting to convince these workers that they should be very, very grateful — because all the way across the Pacific Ocean on the island nation of Japan, their peons earn a minimum wage of  ¥764 per hour (converted from Yens, that's only $7.10 an hour in American money.)
But what's far worse — just to the southwest of Japan is another island nation, the country of Taiwan (officially called The Republic of China), who have a minimum wage of only $3.88 an hour. Egads! And the U.S. offshored a lot of good jobs to them too.

Southeast Asia
But all told, the minimum wage in Taiwan (at $3.88 an hour) isn't really so bad. Just 110 miles away across the Formosa Strait on the mainland of China (officially called The People's Republic of China), the wages are a lot, lot lower. A Taiwanese multinational corporation called Foxconn (Apple's go-to contractor) has 13 factories in nine cities in the country of China. Foxconn's largest factory is in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, which is immediately north of Hong Kong (where the riots are currently happening) and has a population of approximately 15 million people (almost double that of New York City).
There is no "national" minimum wage in China. The minimum wage is set locally and ranges from ¥830 ($135) per month to ¥7.50 ($1.22) per hour in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region — and from ¥1,820 ($296) per month to ¥17 ($2.77) per hour in Shanghai. That's why Foxconn operates their factories in places like China, rather than in Taiwan (where Foxconn is headquartered).
But according to many very wealthy CEOs, because wages are getting "too high" in China, many of their companies are looking for even cheaper sources of labor. On the southern border of China is the country of Vietnam (where over 58,000 American soldiers had died in war). Vietnam's minimum wage will soon increase from $14 to $18 per month in 2015 (No, that's not a typo — a month, not an hour.) The American sneaker-maker (and tax dodger) Nike has 777 factories in 43 Countries employing over 1 million workers. Just in Vietnam alone Nike has 71 factories with over 311,000 workers.
The Republicans have always said that if the U.S. were more like Europe (because, for some reason, Europeans are Socialists) that would be a "bad thing". So let's look at some of the minimum wages in the Old World (where all the Euro-Commies live):
In Germany the minimum wage is €8.50 and hour (Euros) — which is $10.73 an hour in U.S. dollars. That's more than the "proposed" $10.10 an hour for the U.S. that the Republicans refuse to pass, because American companies like Walmart, McDonalds and Amazon don't want to pay thousands of their temporary and/or part-time workers a living wage (even though they've all been raking in record profits for years). But even if the GOP agreed to $10.10 an hour, that would STILL BE LESS than what the Germans currently earn. Is the GOP telling us that American companies can't do better than our former enemy in WWII?
That's why the Republicans call them "Socialists" — because European countries (in truly democratic societies) make their job creators pay their workers a real living wage. Now let's look at the minimum wages in some other countries in the EuroZone:
  • The very liberal Netherlands (whose capital is Amsterdam) pays their workers at least $11.06 an hour, their national minimum wage.
  • And Ireland (who has the third most bars per capita) pays their workers a minimum of $11.09 an hour.
  • In San Marino (an microstate inside Italy) pays their workers a minimum of $11.49 an hour.
  • Belgium pays their workers a minimum wage of $11.69 an hour.
  • France (who the Republicans always make fun of) pays their little French fries $12.35 an hour (much more than the cheapskates in the GOP would ever pay them.)
  • In Monaco (another microstate, but located on the French Riviera) pays a minimum wage of $12.83 an hour.
  • The itty bitty teeny weeny little country of Luxembourg (where Mitt Romney likes to do his banking) can manage to pay their workers a bare minimum of $14.24 an hour (no thanks to people like Mitt Romney).
And what about our friends "Down Under?" In New Zealand the minimum wage is $11.59 an hour for those under 18 years old, but it goes even higher to $14.25 for those over 18 years old. Wow! But in Australia it's a whopping $16.87 per hour!!! So if Crocodile Dundee had never become so rich and famous in Hollywood (and hadn't dodged his taxes), at least he wouldn't have to worry about starving to death — or having to work two jobs just to pay his rent.
In Denmark there's no legally mandated minimum wage, but the average minimum wage for all private and public sector collective bargaining agreements was approximately $20 per hour according to the U.S. State Department last year.
But yet, in the good ole U.S.A. — this "exceptional" country — in this "land of opportunity", our "job creators" only want to pay their hard-working American Patriots a minimum wage of $7.25 hour. Why is that? Maybe it's because they believe "they built that"?
The Republicans today aren't like they used to be — just the opposite. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, gave the First Annual Message to Congress on December 3, 1861:
"Labor is prior to, and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
Teddy Roosevelt, giving a speech before the convention of the National Progressive Party in August 1912 after serving as the eighth Republican President:
"We hold that minimum wage commissions should be established in the Nation ... We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living ... We wish to control big business so as to secure among other things good wages for the wage-workers and reasonable prices for the consumers. Wherever in any business the prosperity of the business man is obtained by lowering the wages of his workmen and charging an excessive price to the consumers we wish to interfere and stop such practices ... we desire that business shall prosper; but it should be so supervised as to make prosperity also take the shape of good wages to the wage-worker and reasonable prices to the consumer ... Wherever nowadays an industry is to be protected it should be on the theory that such protection will serve to keep up the wages and the standard of living of the wage-worker in that industry with full regard for the interest of the consumer ... There is no warrant for protection unless a legitimate share of the benefits gets into the pay envelope of the wage-worker ... The cost of living in this country has risen during the last few years out of all proportion to the increase in the rate of most salaries and wages..."
The last "liberal" Republican President was Richard Nixon: "In the 1950s and 1960s, before Nixon took office, minimum wage stayed on track with productivity. However, that pattern fell off in the next decade. After six years of stagnant wages and escalating costs of living, the Nixon administration stepped in -- In 1974 Nixon signed an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act. That law raised wages by more than 40 percent."
Whereas, Ronald Reagan's administration is the only one not to have raised the minimum wage. At least after lowering the capital gains tax rate for the very wealthy, George W. Bush had also raised the minimum wage (in 3 increments — $5.85 in 2007, $6.55 in 2008 and $7.25 in 2009).
It's time for our leaders to stand up for working Americans; but as we've seen with THIS Congress, most Republicans are against raising the federal minimum it's up to Republican voters to vote them out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Arnett Cobb, Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Johnny Griffin in "Bag's Groove" (1984)

01:08 - Arnett Cobb
03:30 - Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis
06:20 - Johnny Griffin
10:25 - Horace Parlan (piano)
13:10 - Jimmy Woode (bass)
14:36 - Closing theme

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Johnny Griffin - Straight, No Chaser

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Junior Mance (piano)
Larry Gales (bass)
Ben Riley (drums)


RECORDED IN 1945. Bill DeArango - guitar, Red Norvo - vibraharp, Morey Feld - drums, Slam Stewart - bass & vocal, Johnny Guarnieri - piano

Summertime - Don Byas

A Visit To "Some Assembly Required"

Time for a visit to "Some Assembly Required" - please follow link to original.

Crass Warefare: America's richest 14 people made more money last year than the government spent on food for people in need. And yet the food stamp program was cut because of a lack of funds. The top 1% made more than we spent on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combined. Most of the richest's' money – some $7.6 trillion (with a T) is hidden in overseas tax shelters. In the US as currently owned and operated there is no way to stop the rampant redistribution of money to the rich. 

Trickle, Trickle... Mortgage applications at Wells Fargo have dropped from a high of $72 billion in Q2 to $64 billion in Q3 and now have dropped to $25 billion – the lowest number since all this fun started back in the Lehman collapse days.

Among Friends: America's good friend and NATO partner Turkey is denying wounded Kurdish fighters escaping from Kobane entry into the country and letting them die clinging to the fence. It also arrested 274 Kurds fleeing the ISIS attack on Kobane. Turkish jets spent the day bombing Kurdish forces

Something In The Water: Australia's demented leadership marches on. This time its Treasurer Joe Hockey who, faced with data that shows Australia tops the OECD in greenhouse gas emissions per capita, said it was ridiculous to suggest Australia is among the world's top contributors to global warming. After all, it is official Australian policy that there is no global warming.

Phantom Right: Don't get carried away with having the right to remain silent. You can, but that silence can be (and is) held against you at trial. 

There's a lot more.  Go there. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker - A Night In Tunisia - Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945

Discovered in 2005 - an uncovered treasure   ----   LIVE!

Billie's Bounce / Charlie Parker The Savoy Recordings

Funk 49 - Joe Walsh

Dr John- Iko Iko

Dr John with Levon Helm, Ringo, Joe Walsh, Rick Danko, Clarence Clemens, Nils Lofgrin

Judge approves landmark settlement in Minnesota Catholic church abuse case Plaintiffs’ lawyer: ‘This is a landmark case’ Catholic church leaders accused of creating public nuisance

More trouble for The Most Holy Roman Catholic Church  --  AKA - Nest of Pedophiles. 

I wonder if the whole truth will ever come out, and if it will make a difference to "the faithful"  --  AKA - The Forever Duped.

This from "The Guardian" - please follow link to original.

A Minnesota judge signed off on a settlement on Monday in a groundbreaking case that accused Catholic church leaders in Minnesota of creating a public nuisance by failing to warn parishioners about an abusive priest.
Ramsey County judge James Van De North approved the settlement after meeting with both sides on Monday, said Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Neither Anderson nor church officials would give details ahead of a 1pm news conference. A statement from Anderson’s firm said church officials in St Paul and Winona had agreed to 17 child protection protocols.
“This is a landmark case,” Anderson said. “It’s monumental in a lot of ways.”
The case against the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona is believed to be the first clergy sexual abuse case nationwide to use the public nuisance theory at trial.
That claim allowed victims’ attorneys to seek evidence of sexual abuse across the archdiocese, rather than focus on allegations against one individual.
It forced the unprecedented disclosure of tens of thousands of church documents and the names of dozens of accused priests. The flood of information – which included the public release of court-ordered depositions of Archbishop John Nienstedt and other church leaders – revealed how top officials handled allegations of misconduct by priests.
The disclosures compounded an already difficult year for church leaders.
Last fall, a former archdiocese employee went public with allegations that church leaders had mishandled several cases in which priests were accused of abuse. Police began investigating several allegations, and Nienstedt himself was accused of sexual misconduct, which he denied and resulted in no criminal charges.
Nienstedt has apologised for any mistakes, but despite public calls for his resignation he told the AP in July that he would not step down, and that he does not believe he mishandled the situation.
Lawyers for the church had asked that the case be dismissed, saying the public nuisance claim did not stand up, but Van de North allowed it to proceed.
The case was filed in May 2013 under a law that opened up a three-year window for victims of past sexual abuse to file claims that were otherwise barred under the statute of limitations. Similar windows for lawsuits in other states have resulted in payouts in the tens of millions of dollars or more.
The plaintiff, identified in court documents as Doe 1, claims he was abused by Thomas Adamson in 1976 and 1977, when the victim was an altar boy in St Paul Park. The complaint also alleged the archdiocese and diocese were negligent in allowing Adamson continued access to children, even though leaders knew he had behaved inappropriately with young boys.
Adamson said in a deposition earlier this year that he molested around 12 teens from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. He was removed from active ministry in 1985 and defrocked in 2009. He was never criminally charged.
Adamson has an unlisted phone number and could not be reached.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Millions of Gen Xers Will Be Homeless Before You Know It

This from Ted Rall.  Perhaps it's something you should read.  Once again, I'm glad I'm 75 and not a mere 45.  Please follow link to original.

Forget terrorism, Ebola or even climate change — the most dangerous threat to this country is an epic retirement crisis.
We will soon see tens of millions of Americans reduced to poverty, bringing an end to the United States as an economic superpower.
Unlike attacks and pandemics, this crisis is an absolute certainty, one with a clear, near start date. But the media is hardly mentioning the imminent retirement crisis. So politicians haven’t even begun to think about it, much less take it seriously.
Actually, “retirement crisis” is a misnomer. The problem isn’t that people won’t be able to retire or will be living on a shoestring, though those things are true. We’re staring down the barrel of an epic old age crisis. For the average American, to be elderly will mean not mere belt-tightening, but real, grinding poverty: homelessness and hunger.
Throughout the last few decades, vulnerable people living from payday to payday have gotten battered by the shredding of the government safety net, a lack of accumulated savings caused by the boom-and-bust cycle of capitalism, and a lackluster real estate market.
Now members of the poor and lower middle class in their 50s and 60s are heading into a retirement crisis created by a perfect superstorm.
Traditional defined-benefit pension plans have been replaced by stingy 401(k)s and similar programs which employers no longer pay into, cap how much you can contribute (assuming you can afford it), take a beating during downturns in the stock market, and allow workers to tap when they’re laid off or run into financial trouble. After years of sketchy raids and outright theft, workers with old-fashioned corporate and government pensions can’t be sure their money will be there when they need it. The first Generation Xers — many of whom never had the opportunity to accumulate wealth due to several long recessions that impacted them particularly hard — will reach the traditional retirement age of 65 in the year 2024.
The facts are brutal:
No savings: The average Gen Xer only has a net worth of about $40,000 — enough to live on for a year. Maybe. In Akron. 36% of Americans don’t have a dime saved for retirement.
Later Social Security: Thanks to that lovable wacky Ronald Reagan, the Social Security retirement age was quietly raised to 67 for Gen Xers born after 1960. When you finally get Social Security, it doesn’t pay enough. The U.S. ranks third to last in social security benefits among developed nations.
Age discrimination: The continuing post-2008 recession hit those in their 50s especially hard; employers want cheaper, younger workers. 25% of Americans over age 55 now have no savings whatsoever.
About those pension plans: When journalists mention the retirement crisis, they focus on problems with the defined-benefit system. But that’s irrelevant to most Americans. 90% of private-sector workers don’t have one. Most government workers do — but 85% of Americans work in the private sector.
401ks suck (if you have one). Three out of four workers have no pension plan. What they might have is a 401k. The average Gen Xer who has a 401k — 69% don’t — has a $63,000 balance.
Financial experts say 92% of U.S. workers fall significantly short of what they’ll need to live decently after retirement. “In the decades to come,” Edward Siedle writes for Forbes, “we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty. Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the ‘new normal’ for many elderly Americans.”
This is about you — not some theoretical lazy Other.
“At some point,” Siedle says, “lack of savings, lack of employment possibilities and failing health will catch up with the overwhelming majority of the nation’s elders.  Let me emphasize that we’re talking about the overwhelming majority, not a small percentage who arguably made bad decisions throughout their working lives.” [Emphasis is mine.]
America’s army of starving old people will drag down younger people too. “Public finances will be pushed to the limit, crowding out other priorities such as education,” Christian E. Weller predicts in The Hill. “Moreover, economic growth will be slower than it otherwise would be because employers will have more workers whose productivity is declining, while many older families, who could start successful new businesses, will forego those opportunities.”
And the pols?
Useless, Siedle concludes. “Conservatives are trying to pare back so-called entitlements that will mushroom in the near future and liberals have failed to acknowledge the crisis or propose any solutions.”
We can hit the streets to demand action now — or we’ll be living on them later.

Highlights from Montreal Swing Riot 2014

Got this from "As Time goes By" a wonderful blog by and about "Seniors" (old people, to you).

Allegories Gone Wild – Demons And Children

This from "Atheist Oasis".  More proof that many folks just HATE children.  They like the IDEA of children but just hate the messy reality most children actually are.

Please follow link to original.

A day doesn’t go by, where some crazy religious asshole (who shouldn’t have children in the first place) abuses a child. We’re not talking about the pedophiliac priests (though they should string those pricks up by their testes) – specifically I mean these fucking hoodoo voodoo fruitcakes that kiss snakes and think that demons and angels are micromanaging their banal lives.
Rise in cases of ritual child abuse linked to witchcraft beliefs reported, say police
More cases of ritual child abuse linked to belief in witchcraft are being reported, the police said.
The Metropolitan police has received 27 allegations in the past year, including two claims of rape; a child being swung around and smacked in the head “to drive out the devil”, and other youngsters being dunked in water, it said on Wednesday.
A number of horrific child killings have been linked to these beliefs, including the murder of Kristy Bamu, 15, who was tortured and drowned by his sister and her boyfriend in 2010; and the death of Victoria Climbié.
The number of cases of religious or ritualistic abuse of children reported to Scotland Yard has increased year-on-year over the past decade. A total of 24 were passed to the force in 2013; 19 in 2012 and nine in 2011. Since 2004, 148 cases have been referred to the Met.
Police officers will meet a group including teachers, childcare and health workers at London’s City Hall on Wednesday to discuss how to tackle the issue, which is rarely reported.
Det. Supt Terry Sharpe from the Metropolitan police said it was “a hidden crime”.
He said: “Abuse linked to belief is a horrific crime which is condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths. A number of high-profile investigations brought the issue of ritual abuse and witchcraft into the headlines but it is important that professionals are clear about the signs to look for.
“Families or carers genuinely believe that the victim has been completely taken over by the devil or an evil spirit, which is often supported by someone who within the community has portrayed themselves as an authority on faith and belief.
“Regardless of the beliefs of the abusers, child abuse is child abuse.”
A new training film will be launched at the event today.
Simon Bass from the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service said: “We are not remotely surprised that the Metropolitan police alone has already received 27 referrals of this type this year – or three a month.
“We are pleased that the Metropolitan police has undertaken such great work in this area, but we are convinced that this form of abuse is hidden, and that the statutory agencies across the UK are facing similar situations.”
Kristy Bamu’s appalling death was one of a handful of chilling cases where an apparent belief in witchcraft has been linked to extreme violence against children.
The 15-year-old was tortured and savagely beaten before he drowned in a bath at his sister’s flat in east London on Christmas Day 2010.
Magalie Bamu and her boyfriend Eric Bikubi became convinced that he was possessed by kindoki, or evil spirits, and was trying to harm or control another child of the family.
Another case that sparked public revulsion was that of Victoria Climbié, who was beaten, burned with cigarettes and forced to sleep in a binliner in a bath during her short life.
The eight-year-old’s great-aunt Marie-Thérèse Kouao and her boyfriend, Carl Manning, both claimed that the little girl was possessed. They were found guilty of her murder in 2001.
Later that year, the torso of a young boy, named Adam by police, was found floating in the Thames. It is believed that he could have been the victim of a ritual sacrifice practised in parts of Africa.
In another case Child B, who was brought to the UK in 2002 after her parents were killed in Angola, was beaten, cut with a knife and had chilli peppers rubbed in her eyes to beat the ”devil” out of her.
She was also stuffed into a zip-up laundry bag and told that she would be thrown into a river.
Wow, real nice, eh? Religion always seems to bring out the savagery in people. This belief in spirits, ghosts, demons, and all that other hoo-haw is a sign of the willful, ignorant arrogance of these folks. And the accomodationist mind-set even allows a set of child-abuse exemptions (in this country) – which I find both ridiculous and horrifying.
I repeat: this nonsense is for narcissists with low self-esteem. It’s complete and utter self-absorption to think that the universe (let alone some imaginary homunculus) takes an interest in our every tiny move, who keeps track of everybody who sleeps with anybody, and inflicts this sort of grotesquerie on innocent children.
Suffer the little children? More like, let’s make children suffer based on the campfire stories of a bunch of Iron Age shepherds.
Fuck that.
I hold the ‘wholly C’ fully culpable for this ongoing horror, because they have consistently fostered and nurtured this barbaric practice, all of it based on lies.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gerry Mulligan Quartet - Gerry Mulligan Quartet With Chet Baker [Full Album] (1999)

Here's more than just a taste of Mulligan and Chet Baker.  Enjoy!

Line For Lyons
Walking Shoes
Love Me or Leave Me
Moonlight in Vermont
The Lady is a Tramp
Bark For Barksdale
My Funny Valentine
Bernie's Tune
Five Brothers
I May Be Wrong
Swing House
Lullaby of the Leaves
Nearness of You, The
I'm Beginning to See the Light
Makin' Whoopee
Nights at the Turntable
Aren't You Glad You're You
Tea For Two

Blues in Bb - Pee Wee and Jimmy Giuffre 1957

The Jimmy Giuffre 3 _ Two Kinds Of Blues ( 1956 )

The Train and the River - Jimmy Giuffre 1957

Jazz On A Summer's Day - Jimmy Giuffre Three

Dave Brubeck Trio spec. Guest Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan all the things you are

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Deficit Is Down, and Nobody Knows or Cares

From Dr. Krugman's blog.  Falling deficit and none of the VSP's or other usual suspects seem to give a damn.
Follow link to original.

The CBO tells us that the federal deficit is way down — under 3 percent of GDP. And Jared Bernstein notes that Obama seems to get no credit.
You may ask, what did you expect? But the truth is that a few years ago many pundits claimed that Obama would reap big political rewards by being the grownup, the responsible guy who Did What Had To Be Done. Worse, some reports said that the White House political staff believed this.
It was, of course, nonsense on multiple levels. While pundits may like to script out elaborate psychodramas about voter perceptions, real perceptions bear no relationship to their scripts — in fact, a majority think the deficit has gone up on Obama’s watch, while only a small minority know that it’s down.
And the deficit scolds themselves are unappeasable — nothing that doesn’t involve severely damage Social Security and/or Medicare will satisfy them. Why, it’s almost as if shredding the safety net, not reducing the deficit, was their real goal.
Deficit obsession has been immensely destructive as an economic matter. But it has also involved major political malpractice.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DEXTER BLUES by Jay McShann 1941 (DECCA Label 'Sepia Series')

A young Bird (C. Parker) takes the alto solo on this one.

HIGH SOCIETY by Sidney Bechet's Blue Note Jazz Men 1945

MEZZIN' AROUND by Art Hodes Trio with Mezz Mezzrow

Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band - Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Recorded November 30th, December 1st and 2nd, 1954, in Hollywood.
Alvin Alcorn - Trumpet
George Probert - Clarinet
Kid Ory - Trombone
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Don Ewell - Piano
Ed Garland - Bass
Minor Hall - Drums

Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band - Tin Roof Blues

Alvin Alcorn - Trumpet
George Probert - Clarinet
Kid Ory - Trombone
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Don Ewell - Piano
Ed Garland - Bass
Minor Hall - Drums

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Crisis Turned Catastrophe in Texas Tuesday, 07 October 2014 13:31 By Andrea Flynn, Next New Deal | Op-Ed

Yes Virginia  --  Republicans really, really hate women.
Follow link to original

Last week, a decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals left Texas with no more than eight remaining abortion clinics. You would think by now the willingness of state lawmakers to deliberately create a health crisis among their constituents – and the willingness of the courts to allow it – would be of no surprise. But I continue to be shocked.
"All Texas women have been relegated today to a second class of citizens whose constitutional rights are lesser than those in states less hostile to reproductive autonomy, and women facing difficult economic circumstances will be particularly hard hit by this devastating blow,” said the Center for Reproductive Right’s Nancy Northrup.
House Bill 2 could be the grand finale in Texas's efforts to completely dismantle its reproductive health infrastructure on which women – particularly poor women, women of color, young women, and immigrant women – have relied for decades. Pretty soon there won’t be any clinics left to close. Just three years ago, conservative lawmakers gutted the state’s family planning program, which closed approximately 80 family planning providers across the state, caused 55 more to reduce hours, and left hundreds of thousands of women without access to reproductive healthcare. Even before those programs were eviscerated, they provided care and services to only 20 percent of women in need.
And as if that wasn’t enough, lawmakers introduced HB2, a bill that imposes onerous restrictions on abortion providers and demands that all clinics meet costly – upwards of $1 million – building requirements to qualify them as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). Lawmakers claimed these regulations were critical to protecting the lives and health of Texas women, but that’s simply not the case. Currently more than three-quarters of the state’s ASCs have waivers that allow them to circumvent certain requirements: unsurprisingly, abortion providers are prohibited from obtaining those same waivers. HB2 quickly closed the majority of the state’s 41 clinics that offered abortion services – clinics that also provided birth control, pap smears, breast exams, pregnancy tests, and a host of other services. There are few, if any, providers to take their place.
These new restrictions add an unbearable weight to the burdens that too many of Texas’ women already shoulder. Texas has one of the nation’s highest unintended and teen birth rates. The nation’s lowest percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in their first trimester. The highest percentage of uninsured children in the nation. High rates of poverty and unemployment and a woefully inadequate social safety net. And lawmakers who refuse to expand Medicaid, leaving nearly 700,000 women who would qualify for coverage without it.
Just a few weeks ago, Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court in Austin gave health advocates an iota of hope when he ruled HB2 to be an undue burden on women’s constitutionally guaranteed right to an abortion. Yeakel’s decision wasn’t just significant because it delivered a win for humanity in Texas after countless losses, or because the concept of an undue burden was finally being used to protect – not erode – women’s right to chose, but because it was based on facts. Facts! Judge Yeakel relied on incontrovertible data to call bullshit on a law that purports to protect women, but has only ever been about abolishing abortion access.
He argued that for many women, HB2 might as well be an outright ban on abortion. He asked how the eight (at most) providers left could ever each serve between 7,500 and 10,000 patients. How would they cope with the more than 1,200 women per month who would be vying for limited appointments? “That the State suggests that these seven or eight providers could meet the demand of the entire state stretches credulity,” he said.
Yeakel acknowledged the complex intersections of women’s health and economic (in)security:
The record conclusively establishes that increased travel distances combine with practical concerns unique to every woman. These practical concerns include lack of availability of child care, unavailability of appointments at abortion facilities, unavailability of time off from work, immigration status and inability to pass border checkpoints, poverty level, the time and expense involved in traveling long distances, and other inarticulable psychological obstacles. These factors combine with increased travel distances to establish a de facto barrier to obtaining an abortion for a large number of Texas women of reproductive age who might choose seek a legal abortion.
Yeakel warned that the stated goal of improving women’s health would not come to pass. And it won’t. The increased delays in seeking early abortion care, risks associated with longer travel, the potential increases in self-induced abortions “almost certainly cancel out any potential health benefit associated with the requirement,” he said.
But Yeakel’s arguments were not compelling enough for the 5th Circuit, which finds it perfectly acceptable that more than one million women now need to travel more than 300 miles (and many women even further) to access health care that is constitutionally guaranteed to them.
This decision will have a ripple effect. Other anti-choice lawmakers across the country are following Texas’ lead, imposing similar restrictions on clinics and physicians who provide abortions. The vindication of Texas lawmakers who have used their legislative power to wreak havoc on the lives of women and families will only continue to embolden other states seeking the same goals.
Conservatives like to argue that they are not waging a war on women. Today there are a whole lot of us who find it impossible to argue otherwise.

How America’s Richest 14 Made More Money Than the Entire Food Stamp Budget

OBSCENE!  Follow link to original

How America’s Richest 14 Made More Money Than the Entire Food Stamp Budget by Paul Buchheit, CommonDreams

For the second year in a row, America’s richest 14 individuals made more from their annual investments than the $80 billion provided for people in need of food. Nearly half of the food-deprived are children. Perversely, the food stamp program was CUT because of a lack of federal funding.
In a testament to the inability — or unwillingness — of Congress to do anything about the incessant upward re-distribution of America’s wealth, the richest 14 Americans increased their wealth from $507 billion to $589 billion in ONE YEAR from their investment earnings. As stated by Forbes, “All together the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago.”
The America’s Richest 14 Made Enough Money to Hire Two Million Pre-School Teachers or Emergency Medical Technicians
Billions of dollars of wealth, derived from years of American productivity, have been transferred to a few financially savvy and well-connected individuals who have spent a generation shaping trading rules and tax laws to their own advantage. It’s so inexplicably one-sided that the 2013 investment earnings of the richest 1% of Americans ($1.8 trillion) was more than the entire budget for Social Security ($860 billion), Medicare ($524 billion), and Medicaid ($304 billion).
Why Does So Little of Our National Wealth Go to Feed People or Provide Jobs?
The fruits of American productivity go to the America’s richest, who can afford to hold onto their fortunes, defer taxes indefinitely, and then pay a smaller capital gains rate when they eventually decide to cash in. Worse yet, they can stash their winnings overseas, tax-free. It is estimated that $7.6 trillion of personal wealth is hidden in tax havens. That means, stunningly, that $1 of every $12 of worldwide wealth is hidden in a haven.
America has no wealth tax, no financial speculation tax, no means of stopping the rampant redistribution of money to the rich. As Noam Chomsky said, The concept of the Common Good that is being relentlessly driven into our heads demands that we focus on our own private gain, and suppress normal human emotions of solidarity, mutual support and concern for others.
Who Are These People Taking All the Big Money?
A review of America’s richest 20 shows that opportunism and ruthless business practices and tax avoidance, rather than entrepreneurship, vaulted these individuals to the top:
Bill Gates used someone else’s operating system to start Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).
According to the New York Post, Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, “openly admits that it owes back taxes since as long ago as 2002.”
Koch Industries is jeopardizing our clean air and water, moving its toxic waste to Detroit and Chicago, trying to take away the minimum wage, seeking to take down renewable energy initiatives, and laying off thousands of workers.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) makes $13,000 in pre-tax profits per employee (after paying salaries), yet takes a taxpayer subsidy of $5,815 per worker.
Jeff Bezos has spent millions of dollars per year on lobbyists, lawyers, and political campaigns to maintain Amazon’s tax-free sales in order to undercut competitors and drive them out of business.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the founders of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), which has gained recognition as one of the world’s biggest tax avoiders, a master at the “Double Irish” revenue shift to Bermuda tax havens, and a beneficiary of tax loopholes that bring money back to the U.S. without paying taxes on it.
Zuckerberg, like Gates, was an opportunist, overcoming superior competition with his Harvard connection, gaining better financial support, and — allegedly — hacking competitors’ computers to compromise their user data.
Job Creators?
As for the argument that Microsoft, Google, etc. created products and jobs: It was the industry that did it, supported by decades of research and innovation, and involving tens of thousands of American workers, from scientists to database clerks. Our nation’s winner-take-all philosophy makes it look like one person did the work of all these contributors. That’s wrong as can be, especially for this year’s version of the richest Americans.