Tag Archives: tax

Happy Birthday Brown Bomber

th (1)Joe Lewis Barrow was the first black heavyweight boxing to win and hold the crown sin the great Jackson at the turn of the century. He held the world heavyweight boxing champion title from June 22, 1937, until March 1, 1949. Known as the Brown Bomber, Lewis held the title belt for nearly 12 years, a boxing record, longer than any other boxer the history of the game and posted 25 successful title defenses.

Lewis was widely considered one of the greatest and most beloved boxers in the sport’s history was May 13, 1914 in the cotton-field country near Lafayette, Alabama. The son of a sharecropper, and the great-grandson of a slave, he was the eighth child of Munn and Lilly Barrow. His family life was shaped by financial struggle. The Louis kids slept three to a bed, and Louis’ father was committed to a state hospital when he was just two years old.

Louis had little schooling and as a teen took on odd jobs in order to help out his mother and siblings. The family eventually relocated to Detroit where Louis found work as a laborer at the River Rouge plant of the Ford Motor Company. For a time, Louis set his sights on a career in cabinet making. He briefly attended the Bronson Vocational School for training and in his off-time took violin lessons. But it was while at school that a friend recommended he try boxing.

While not an immediate success he debuted as a lightweight and was knocked down three times in his first fight but in that fight he showed promise. By 1934, he held the national Amateur Athletic Union light-heavyweight title and finished his amateur career with an astonishing 43 knockout victories in 54 matches.

Louis bruised his opponents with a crushing left jab and hook. By the end of 1935, the young fighter was showing that his amateur success was no fluke. He fought 14 bouts that year, earning nearly $370,000 in prize money. On June 19, 1936, Louis suffered his first professional defeat, a 12th round knockout to Max Schmeling, a German fighter and former heavyweight champion who’d earned the adoring praise of Adolph Hitler.

The defeat stung Louis, but it was offset by the chance to fight Jim Braddock on June 22, 1937 for the heavyweight crown. The Brown Bomber knocked out the defending champ in the eighth round setting the stage for a 12-year-run as the heavyweight king all the while becoming a sports icon for blacks and white across America.

Part of it could be chalked up to the sheer fact that fans loved a winner. Of Louis’ 25 title defenses, only three went the full 15 rounds. But in winning, Louis also showed himself to be a gracious, even generous victor. Louis, who enlisted in the Army in 1942, threw his support behind the country’s war effort and went so far as to donate twice his purse money to military relief funds.

He officially retired on March 1, 1949. A short-lived comeback, owed more in part because he was broke, soon followed. But Louis failed to capture his earlier magic. On October 26, 1951 he called it quits for good after Rocky Marciano knocked him out in the eighth round at Madison Square Garden.

The years after his retirement from the ring proved uneven for Louis. He was still a revered American figure, but money was a constant issue for him. In an effort to find some footing, he tried out a number of careers. He wrestled and partnered with a rival in setting up a chain of interracial food shops.

Lewis was not allowed to show any anger or to be too exuberant during his victories over white opponents. It was required of him to be humble. In 1970, his wife Martha committed Louis to a psychiatric hospital in Colorado because of his cocaine addiction and paranoia. He was later confined to a wheelchair following surgery to correct an aortic aneurysm. Louis was inducted to the Ring Magazine Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1982, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

There is a sad footnote to the illustrious career of one of the greatest sports stories in boxing history. For all that Lewis sacrificed for the country – the government hounded him for taxes from the early part of his career until he died. Only in America! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The Middle-Class Tax

The incomparable Jackie (Morganfield) Lambert the great niece of the legendary blues man Muddy Waters has once again offered another empowering and insightful gift of wisdom. Jackie offers her powerful commentaries on “LET’S TALK ABOUT IT” every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM (est) on Spreaker.com with me and the Wild & Wonderful Brenda White. You must join us for the fastest growing political talk show on the air talk where we talk about the political news of the day and all the crazy goings-on in our country. It’s a blast!!!

The Middle-Class Tax
(Or, How Financial Markets Affect You)

My favorite coffee shop is a small business locally owned by “Mom & Pop”. Today, while getting my morning pick-me-up, “Pop” and I began to discuss the high cost of living. He told me that the cost of coffee beans had gone up more than 300% this year. Was there a particularly bad harvest in coffee producing nations around the world? No, the spike in prices, he said, was caused primarily by rampant speculation in the commodities market. And, since he could not raise his prices by 300% and expect to keep many customers, he and his lovely wife decided to do their best to absorb the higher costs and hope they can hang on to their business until their costs go down.

Now, the folks who are bidding up the price of coffee beans could care less about the problems of a small, but very popular, business in a little California town. They are just out to make a fast buck. The buck that they are making, however, does not employ a single American. This buck doesn’t build anything or make anything. This buck simply goes into the pocket of some hot-shot, Wall Street financier who will pay less of his income in taxes than you will for going to work every day.

Now, let’s apply the coffee bean principle to the price of gas, groceries, electricity and the like. We certainly can’t expect a large oil company to do what “pop” did, especially since big oil is helping to bid up the price of gasoline.

As the Republicans continue to defend tax cuts for the richest among us, just remember that you, and I, and every working person in this great nation are subsidizing the rich not only through the tax code but through the prices we pay.


A Day that Will Live in Infamy

It has been ten years since the attacks upon America’s homeland and a day that will live in infamy, which has become known as 9/11. I can remember that day as if it was yesterday. To be honest, I can only come up with two words to describe my feelings – “Shocking and Horrifying”. I would like to take this moment to send my heartfelt sympathy to all who have suffered, still suffer, and died.

A few days ago I watched a documentary that cause me to think about what those terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to do, and did to the soul of America. Then I began to wondered if Osama bin Laden realized what those attacks that morning would do to the nation. It brought about George Bush’s immediate response to the attacks that in many ways compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda, which has been proven as there has been no evidence that bin Laden ever entered the country. Although the last administration tried to establish such a link. In my opinion it was a war of choice that quickly became very expensive to the order of more than $60 billion, which was claimed at the beginning and a war of incompetence coupled with dishonest misrepresentation.

Some have calculated a conservative tally at more than $3-5 trillion, which I believe to be a low ball figure and another lie. When you consider that it’s been ten years and 50% of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities. Adding that some estimate that future disability payments and health-care costs will total $600-900 billion. This is not to forget the human cost of our brave soldiers who die or commit suicides that have topped topped 18 per day in recent years, not to mention family breakups that no one can calculate.

I cannot forgive Bush or anyone in his administration for taking America to war and I’m sure not many sane people can either for this war created on false pretenses and for misrepresenting the cost of the venture. If you really think about it there was no excuse for how those crooks chose to finance it. This was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit while deficits soared as a result of his 2001 tax cut. But they did it anyway and passed yet another round of tax “relief” for the wealthy.

Today as the Republicans who joined him are focused on unemployment and the deficit. The deficit they created as a result of the wars. Both of which are threats to America’s future and has worsened America’s reputation around the world. Let’s be clear, the increased defense spending and the tax cuts is a key reason why America went from a fiscal surplus of 2% of GDP under Clinton to its parlous deficit and debt position today. Direct government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion – $17,000 for every US household – with bills yet to be received increasing this amount by more than 50%.

Let us also remember that then, as now, disruption in the Middle East led to higher oil prices, forcing Americans to spend money on oil imports that they otherwise could have spent buying goods produced in the US. But then the US Federal Reserve hid these weaknesses by engineering a housing bubble that led to a consumption boom. It will take years to overcome the excessive indebtedness and real-estate overhang that resulted.

Ironically, the wars have undermined America’s security, again in ways that bin Laden could not have imagined. An unpopular war would have made military recruitment difficult in any circumstances. But, as Bush tried to deceive America about the wars’ costs, he underfunded the troops, refusing even basic expenditures. Like, for example, armored and mine-resistant vehicles needed to protect American lives, or for adequate health care for returning veterans. A US court recently ruled that veterans’ rights have been violated. Maybe this is what is meant by “Support the Troops”.

Military overreach has predictably led to nervousness about using military power, and others’ knowledge of this threatens to weaken America’s security as well. But America’s real strength, more than its military and economic power, is its “soft power”. It is moral authority, which has be weakened as the US violated basic human rights like habeas corpus and the right not to be tortured, its longstanding commitment to international law was called into question.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, the US and its allies knew that long-term victory required winning hearts and minds. But just as in the last war America lost mistakes in the early years complicated that already difficult battle. The wars’ collateral damage has been massive and no hearts or minds have been won. There are some who say more than a million Iraqis have died, directly or indirectly, because of this war. According to some studies, at least 137,000 civilians have died violently in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last ten years; among Iraqis alone, there are 1.8 million refugees and 1.7 million internally displaced people.

Not all of the consequences were disastrous. The deficits to which America’s debt-funded wars contributed so mightily are now forcing the US to face the reality of budget constraints. America’s military spending still nearly equals that of the rest of the world combined, two decades after the end of the Cold War. So the idea of a broader Global War on Terrorism was created for only the rich to benefit from and frankly against enemies that don’t exist.

They tell us Al Qaeda is on the run – not conquered. bin Laden is dead and they say many of his cohorts. Are we safer? The argument is that there has not been another attack – very good – but there was no attack before 9/11. The question then that must be asked is; why are we still there? Bring the troops home! That is how you support the troops. The price paid has been enormous and mostly avoidable. The legacy will be with us forever. It is my opinion that if we bring the troops home they can protect us, which is their mission. The best thing all of us can do is say it loud – stop the wars!!!



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