$10 in Taxes? Sign me up

Lee Camp is my new hero.

He comes closer than anyone to capturing my anger for the wholesale sell-off the nation that all of us and our parents built with his video Corporations Pay Less In Taxes Than YOU, Yeah YOU. This is absolute bullshit and I cannot imagine how we continue to stand for this as a nation. Remember, evil people have plans (and office supplies).

We are winning the race to the bottom

Sudane Famine

Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, directed the UN Millennium Project and was Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. In short, he is one leading international economic advisors in the world.

In Stop This Race to the Bottom on Corporate Tax he writes that we surely need to reduce deficits but in a fair, efficient, and sustainable manner, by levying higher taxation on those who are enjoying a boom in living standards and a share of the national income unprecedented in modern history:

With capital globally mobile, moreover, governments are now in a race to the bottom with regard to corporate taxation and loopholes for personal taxation of high incomes. Each government aims to attract mobile capital by cutting taxes relative to others. Governments like Ireland have created tax havens that drain revenues from the rest and act as conduits to tax-free Caribbean hideaways such as the Cayman Islands. The rich are doubly benefited: by the underlying market forces of globalization and by their governments’ policy response.

Another reason for the lavish attention to tax cuts at the top is of course the tawdry role of big money in political campaigns. No country tops the US in shamelessness. US national campaigns cost several billion dollars every two years, and fundraising is relentless. The main difference between the two parties is that Big Oil tends to finance the Republicans while Wall Street tends to finance the Democrats. Otherwise, both parties are in the hand of big-money interests that exacerbate the dangerous inequalities opened by globalization.

The end result is that both the US and UK are battling deficits of about 10 per cent of gross domestic product. The situation in the US is far graver. Total government (federal, state, and local) revenues as a share of GDP in the US are now 32 per cent, roughly 9 percentage points below the UK and 15-20 percentage points below countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which all have much lower budget deficits (or a surplus in the case of Norway) and highly effective public services.

Read the rest and really: can anyone tell me what the hell our elected officials are thinking as they dismantle our public services and hand billions and billions MORE of our children’s future income for massive personal and corporate tax cuts to those who already have so much more than they need?

Our priorities, it seems to me, are for shit.

The photo is Sudane Famine from cliff1066™. It was taken by Kevin Carter of The New York Times and won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. I don’t think it needs any explanation.

WE WILL WIN THE FUTURE

WE WILL WIN THE FUTURE

WE WILL WIN THE FUTURE, photo by leyink.

Kind of fitting to go from the high profile Kennedy’s “Ask not” Inaugural speech to the nearly as high profile Barack Obama 2011 State of the Union.

Although both looked towards an uncertain but boundless future, both didn’t employ the same … economy of speech.

I spent a lot of the speech putting thought bubbles over John Boehner’s head: Renewable energy? I’ll clap – WAIT A MINUTE – Oil subsidies?? Education? Guess I gotta cla– taking Bank subsidies??? C’mon!! Simplify tax code? Well who doesn’t want-SONOFABITCH Get your hands OFF the top 5%.

However long it was, this speech felt to me to be FINALLY the declaration that by dammit, this is OUR future and we are finally going to seize it.

Sulu, set course for the Federation, Warp 6.

I was thinking of another title but when I saw this photo, any thoughts of title or anything but “OBAMA HAS 3D GLASSES SO HE CAN SEE THE FUTURE!!!” flew right out of my head. Lindsay writes that she is a Futurist. Coolhunter. Pixel lover. She’s nailed them all here. Check out leyink.com. Really. Do it.

You can watch the regular old State of the Union or check out the enhanced version below:

Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own

thank you,

 

Listening to this, I wonder why the title wasn’t the line that defined Kennedy’s first inaugural. My favorite line:

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Yeah, let’s seek that, ok?

Cyberwar 1.0 beta

singularityCan you believe it?

People are voluntarily joining botnets!

I mean. Botnets? Intentional zombification of your computer? Are you sure that’s … you know … wise?

If Wikileaks broke the Espionage Act, so did the NYT!

Because they got the data too. Others who have broken the 90 year old Espionage Act include e.e. cummings.

Don’t worry – Congress is ready with the SHIELD act!

That’s the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act for those of you who were worried that there wasn’t an awesome acronym!

Houston. We have a little problem handling our approach to the Singularity, please advise.

The photo is by sf à gogo and you can see her work in the Flickriver.

Sometimes, the light at the end of the tunnel is just New Jersey

Rally signs

Well, the election tomorrow doesn’t look good for the forces of sanity and reason. I’m not talking about Republican vs Democrat, I’m talking about Wingnut vs Whatever the Heck You Are If You’re Not a Wingnut. John said something in his closing speech at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear that I think bears repeating and thought as we move ahead into a brave new world.

We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don’t is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!

But Americans don’t live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done–not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.

The Gregory Brothers aka schmoyoho aka Auto-Tune aka those wonderful mad geniuses have auto-tuned Stewart’s speech:

If you missed John’s speech, you can watch it here:

The photo is Rally signs by twbuckner. See it and others in his rally set and see many more in the Rally to Restore Sanity and Keep Fear Alive group.

Getting Naked for Wine

naked-for-wine

Treehugger says:

This past weekend 713 hardy French men and women stripped down to send a message about climate change. They posed nude in French vineyards to warn the world about the impact of global warming on the French wine industry.

In Burgundy, the heart of the French vineyards, on a sunny day (luckily), Spencer Tunick posed the happy participants in 4 different poses; one with women alone, one with men alone and two more in different vineyards. Organised with Greenpeace, it’s all part of the campaign to urge political leaders to take action in the lead up to the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

Definitely check out the article, Spencer Tunick’s site and also the Unofficial Spencer Tunick Experience Website which has some pretty cool links. I think that stuff like this is ultimately what will turn the tide on this climate madness. People – from snowboarders & skiers to teachers to farmers to people who eat shrimp I guess – will have to campaign against climate change in their own way. It has to be seen not as an esoteric maybe/maybe not issue of ivory tower dwelling people named Al Gore, but rather what it really is: the single most dangerous threat to our survival as a civilization and species.

Thanks Kathy for the pointer! Let’s close with Spencer Tunick at the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland.

Home at last

Another Andy McFarlane, this one 47 and serving under the Union Jack in Afganistan writes:

Repatriation

The leviathan of the sky does land
In England’s green and pleasant land
Its cargo more precious than gold
The body of a hero, bold

Once the giant’s engines stopped
The cargo ramp is gently dropped
Carried by six on shoulders true
The hero is saluted by the crew

The coffin draped in Union Jack
Is slowly carried out the back
Out of the dark and into light
Slowly down the ramp and to the right

The six approach the hearse all black
And place the hero gently in the back
The six then turn and march away
Their duty has been done this day

Politicians usually have much to say
No sign of them near here this day.
They hide away and out of danger
Much easier if the hero is a stranger

The hearse with its precious load
Moves slowly out onto the road
The floral tributes line the route
While comrades snap a smart salute

At the edge of a Wiltshire town
The cortege slows its pace right down
The streets are packed, many deep
Some throw flowers, most just weep

The crowd have come to say farewell
The church bell rings a low death knell
Regimental standards are lowered down
As the hero passed through the town

The cortege stops and silence reigns
The townsfolk feel the family’s pain.
The nations’ flag lowered to half mast
Our brave hero is home at last

How many times has the Union Jack or Old Glory or Whatever They Affectionately Call Your Flag come “home” atop a coffin? And how many more?

It’s hard to select a photo of someone else’s flag. M,! didn’t name hers. It’s part of her i am not a robot set.

Ch-ch-ch-chia & Challenge

obamadelic

It’s been a while since my last post of any great substance, and why stop now. In addition to this rather bizarre Photoshop manifestation, here, in list form and as fast as possible, are my thoughts on the President in Chia Chief:

  1. Yes we can … grow herbs and sprouts from our President’s HEAD! It’s ChiaObama – $19.99 worth of crunchy and nutritious fun!
  2. Someone told me yesterday that it was nice to be a nation under adult supervision again, and I think it’s interesting that the Republican Party chose to respond to Obama’s speech with the almost cartoonish response of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal telling us that Katrina says that government can’t help you. Maybe the real message is that a directionless and antiquated government from the 1930s can’t help you. I was shouting at the TV that Gov. Jindal just needed a button-down sweater to get the role of Mr. Rogers. Jon Stewart saw some similarity as well, which you can see in this Daily Show excerpt (warning: graphic baconnaise)
  3. That Daily Show excerpt and the Word Cloud of Obama’s speech to Congress both come courtesy Jason Morrison, who generated a great Obama v Jondal Word Cloud face-off. He made the cloud at wordle.net and has written about the utility of tag clouds. It’s interesting to look at these small to see the major themes: “Plan now, health economy every time new America” and “Republican need government Washington anything strengthen Congress” jump out at me from 10,000 feet.
  4. I have been full of hope that the massive waves of crisis that are buffeting the world will allow the Obama Administration and people at all levels of society and government to make the really profound changes that are necessary for our growth and survival. I think that’s what Maureen Dowd was getting at in her latest column.
  5. Obama’s radio address seems to show that he is indeed ready for a fight along those lines: The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don’t. I work for the American people. I didn’t come here to do the same thing we’ve been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November.
  6. I found the images for this post on a Flickr search for “obama” licensed under the Creative Commons for commercial work. I thought it was interesting that the first five results had the theme or subtheme of buying something Obama-related. The person who posted the framed picture of Obama also has a food blog featuring all kinds of Pacific food including Hawaiian, something I’ve never tried. Can we expect to see chains of Hawaiian eateries springing up?
  7. I also thought it cool that one of the “Nerds for Obama” was wearing the cool astronaut boombox shirt that one of the girls at the Merc was wearing yesterday. Viviene (pictured above)  has started a company called Polka Dot Robot. While PDR doesn’t sell Obama gear, it does offer these Monster Hoodies.
  8. I made this post into a cloud.
  9. In conclusion, I’d like to ask what you will grow in your ChiaObama. I think mine will be basil … or hope & change.