Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A favorite hymn

Although I am no longer a believer, I have never lost my love of the wonderful old Christian hymns.  So I was a bit sad that one of my favorites was missing on YouTube:  "LlGHT'S GLITTERING MORN".  It is in fact a medieval Latin hymn and has, as such, been variously translated and set.  The setting I like is by Palestrina in 1623 and the translation I like is by J.M. Neale.  But other quite different settings are more common  -- and are not nearly as good in my view.  Anyway, judge for yourself.  A performance of the setting that I like has just popped up this month on Youtube:

It is Hymn 126 in Hymns Ancient and Modern (The old Church of England Hymn book) but for convenience I give a few of the verses below:

1. Light's glittering morn bedecks the sky;
Heaven thunders forth its victor—cry;
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The glad earth shouts her triumph high,
And groaning hell makes wild reply.
Hallelujah! (x5)

2. The pains of hell are loosed at last;
The days of mourning now are passed;
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
An angel robed in light has said,
"The Lord is risen from the dead."
Hallelujah! (x5) ’

3. All praise be Yours, 0 risen Lord,
From death to endless life restored:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
All praise to God the Father be,
And Holy Ghost eternally.
Hallelujah! (x5)

UPDATE:  A reader has noted that the same wonderful tune is used in "Ye watchers and ye holy ones".  A splendid example here.  The graphics for that performance not only include the happy faces of the singers but also some splendid shots of great British  steam locomotives, including some A4s -- an excellent metaphor for divine power.

I am  having trouble tracing the source of the tune.  I read that its first appearance in print was in Auserlesen Catholische Geistliche Kirchengesäng of Cologne in 1623.  And that the German title of the hymn was Laßt uns erfreuen herzlich sehr (Let us make praise very heartily).  I also read that the tune was revised first by Bach and then by Vaughan Williams before it reached its present form.


Pfizer and the flight from punitive taxes

by Jeff Jacoby

FOR ALL the attention it's gotten, the anticipated merger between Pfizer Inc., the New York-based pharmaceutical giant, and its British rival AstraZeneca is far from a done deal. Pfizer has yet to make a formal offer, as its CEO told a parliamentary hearing last week; it has only broached informal proposals that AstraZeneca has so far rebuffed.

But if the merger does go through, Pfizer makes no bones about its intention to shift the company's legal domicile to the United Kingdom, thereby saving a fortune in taxes. As a US business, Pfizer's foreign earnings are subject to a combined 42.1 percent corporate tax rate — the 35 percent federal rate plus New York's 7.1 percent. As a British company, its top tax rate would fall to 21 percent. The difference could amount to $1.4 billion a year.

Outrageous? Indeed. But the outrage isn't the wish of an American corporation to lower its tax bill. It is a US tax code so punitive and counterproductive that it can drive a company like Pfizer, which was launched in Brooklyn in 1849, to turn itself into a foreign corporation.

The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. That puts American companies at a serious competitive disadvantage, since their rivals elsewhere are able to channel more of their profits into new investment, hiring, and productivity. What's worse, ours is the only country that enforces a system of "worldwide" taxation, which means that American firms have to pay tax to the IRS not only on income earned in the United States but on their foreign earnings as well. Other nations content themselves with "territorial" taxation — they only tax income earned within their national borders. US corporations like Pfizer that have significant earnings overseas are thus taxed on those earnings twice: first by the government of the country where the money was earned, and then by the IRS.

So why wouldn't "US Firms Pack Up for Tax Benefits," as a Wall Street Journal story on the trend was headlined? Relocating their corporate domicile to another country frees them from having to pay taxes to Uncle Sam on their foreign earnings — earnings that Uncle Sam shouldn't be taking a bite out of in the first place. If America's corporate tax system weren't so grasping — if it operated along the same territorial tax principles as the rest of the industrial world — businesses wouldn't be feeling pressure to head for the exits.

Pfizer is only the latest US firm to contemplate merger with a foreign company as an escape hatch from an onerous tax code. In just the past two years, reports Bloomberg, at least 15 publicly traded corporations have undertaken such a "tax inversion," as the practice is called. Among them: banana distributor Chiquita Brands, telecommunications company Liberty Global, and Eaton Corp., a Fortune 500 supplier of electrical equipment. In recent weeks, shareholders of Walgreen, the Illinois-based drugstore chain, have been pushing the company to reincorporate in Switzerland, where it is in the process of acquiring Alliance Boots, a health and beauty conglomerate.

Tax inversions are easy to rail against. A New York Times columnist labels the Pfizer-AstraZeneca proposal "a mega-tax-dodge." The liberal group Citizens for Tax Justice accuses Pfizer of wanting to "get out of paying their US taxes, and it's absolutely wrong."

But companies don't "get out of paying their US taxes" — that is, taxes on income earned in the US — by shifting their legal address. European and Asian companies that do business in America pay taxes in America. Inversion doesn't change that.

No taxpayer, individual or corporate, is obliged to pay more in taxes than the law requires. And where legal options exist for reducing one's tax bill, there is nothing wrong, let alone "absolutely wrong," in considering them. Corporations don't exist to maximize government revenue. Their loyalty should be to shareholders and customers — not the US Treasury.

It isn't carved in granite that America must have the most punitive corporate taxes in the world. Congress inflicted that burden on American business, and Congress has the power to lift it. "We should not be surprised," writes Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, "when corporations fight to get out from under antiquated tax rules."

Pfizer can't rewrite the tax code that is causing it to overpay $1.4 billion in yearly taxes. It can only try to escape it.



Young People Will Reject Liberalism’s Lies

When the whole shoddy edifice of the progressive project collapses under its own dead weight, it will largely be because the liberals forgot to breed enough mindless minions to keep shoring it up. The left has always depended on a never-ending parade of credulous children to revitalize its dwindling ranks as the march of time and maturity depletes them. Liberal youth would grow up, look around, realize how progressivism is a disaster, and largely stop buying into the nonsense.

But now, young people are wising up earlier. This is bad news for liberals, but great news for America.

Our youth – those in college and younger – are starting to reject the nonsense pushed by the progressive clown car of communism-lite. This presents an opportunity for the most counterintuitive of alliances, that of those entering adulthood and those of us who entered it long ago and are now reaping the benefits of liberalism’s shameful transfer of wealth and power to those of us who have already made it on the backs of those just starting out.

We need to distinguish the youth from the older Millennials, who are famously infatuated with The One. And we even need to distinguish among the Millennials, because some of that generation have rejected the value-free values of their cohort. In particular, we must note those glorious Millennial warriors who have served their Nation in war. Their selfless service has justly earned them a place of honor in America’s Valhalla, where the heroes of Lexington, Iwo Jima and Ia Drang await their coming to the places at the table their courage has earned them.

But the rest of the Millennial generation just needs to be slapped.

Maybe they will learn too, albeit through the magic of pain. Maybe it’s too late. Regardless, their younger brothers, sisters and gender-indefinite siblings have seen the Millennials’ eager embrace of progressivism repaid with the expectation that they will bear the full cost of the political payoffs liberals promised to more useful and wealthy Democrat demographics. People like me, an established trial lawyer in the bluest part of the bluest state. Obama has been just awesome for folks like me, and that unjust awesomeness has been paid for by a Millennial generation mired in debt and unemployment. But it often seems that this travesty bothers me more than it bothers them.

Yet the generation behind them doesn’t seem so thrilled at the prospect of subsidizing the lavish lifestyles of left-leaning coastal professionals via eternal toil at breakfast beverage stands. Good. It’s great to see young people getting mad at the gigantic con liberalism is running on them.

Why are young people getting less liberal? First, we need to understand that they are not necessarily getting more conservative. Remember, these young people are just emerging from 13+ years in the liberal conformity factories of the progressive educational complex. They’ve been trained to hate conservatives; they’d think a conservative was the equivalent of the antichrist if they knew who Christ was.

But look at it from their point of view. All they’ve seen in their young lives is liberals lying to them. They are not stupid. They are just unwise, both because they are young and, in many cases, because they were raised by glorified man/womynchildren who confuse helicoptering with parenting.

They see the lies. They understand that it’s a bad idea to come out of college with $250K of debt and a double major in Marxist Pottery and Selective Outrage. They hear from their liberal overlords about open-mindedness, tolerance and rights, yet see these same liberals foaming at the mouth to root out any dissenting views and sacrificing due process on the altar of political correctness. They know a kangaroo court when they see one, and they see the offending marsupials are bitter liberal feminists, sophomore race hustlers, and cowardly university administrators without the intestinal fortitude to tell these leftist lynch mobs to go back to their dorms.

These are children of the Internet, versed in social media, used to a free-wheeling, no-holds-barred electronic frontier – and they understand that every progressive from Obama on down is slobbering for a chance to rein it all in. Look at the NSA revelations; what can be tracked, inevitably with these eager Thought Policepeople, will soon be controlled. These young people have endured the soul-deadening nightmare of liberal thought control all through their real life school years – they don’t want it in their virtual lives too.

And, operating under the radar, is a cultural subversion of the liberal paradigm. For example, those crazy kids love their Hunger Games. It’s not exactly a portrait of a world Milton Friedman might design; it seems an awful lot like one the liberal DC/Hollywood nexus would enjoy.

Then there’s this fascinating, conservative video game called “Minecraft” that all the kids are into. I got a quick briefing on it before shooing some of them off my lawn.

It warmed my heart. Minecraft allows kids to create virtual worlds, limited only by their imagination and their willingness to work. The thing is that the resources don’t simply appear – you have to obtain them. The kids can work or barter to get the resources they want. It’s pure capitalism. And it even has bad guys that try and steal one’s resources or destroy one’s creations, so you have to defend what’s yours.

It’s kind of like real life. Don’t think of it as a time-sucking game. Think of it as training. These young people are being trained – often for the first time – that work leads to rewards, that capitalism works, and that sometimes you need to deal the pain to dirtbags.

The kids are gravitating to cultural phenomena that can function as Conservatism 101. Let’s hope it takes. And this could even be good for the Millennials. These Obama-loving saps will have a whole new, younger generation to sell artisanal teas and espressos.



Poll Finds Wide Support for Voter ID Laws

Once again, registered voters have shown that they are overwhelmingly in favor of voter ID laws, a recent Fox News poll found.

“There is a debate about state laws that require voters to show a valid form of state-or federally-issued photo identification to prove U.S. citizenship before being allowed to vote,” the question stated. “Supporters of these laws say they are necessary to stop ineligible people from voting illegally. Opponents say these laws are unnecessary and mostly discourage legal voters from voting. What do you think?”

Seventy percent of respondents said voter ID laws are “needed to stop illegal voting,” while 27 percent said these laws are “unnecessary and discourage legal voting.”

    The survey found majorities of every demographic support the law. Ninety-one percent of Republicans offer support, and 66 percent of independents feel the same.

    Fifty-five percent of Democrats support the laws, while 43 percent oppose them.

    Opposition to the laws is highest among black respondents, but even there a bare majority, 51 percent, support them. Forty-six percent of African Americans oppose the laws.

Rand Paul recently made headlines after The New York Times quoted him as saying he thinks “it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

Paul, who later said the comment was “overblown”, clarified what he meant on “Hannity”: “I know about voter fraud and that there have to be rules and states have the ability to do it,” he said. “But I’ve also said Republicans should be emphasizing the good things we’re trying to do to try to help minorities vote instead of the things many minorities feel is directed at them, rightly or wrongly. … So I do object to overemphasizing something that is turning people off.”


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: