Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Ancient City of Palmyra Post ISIS Destruction

Palmyra statues Before ISIS Destruction

Ancient places that for centuries stand proudly as proof of man’s ingenuity and determination are true wonders of the world.

The photos in my blog post are proof again, that what was once historically majestic can be destroyed in a moment. The once awe-inspiring Palmyra, a 2,000-year-old Unesco World Heritage site, contained some of the best-preserved Roman-era ruins in the world.

Below are before ISIS and after ISIS photos of Palmyra. A picture is indeed worth a thousand heartbreaking words.

Palmyra Citadel Before ISIS Destruction
Palmyra’s Citadel before ISIS

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows damage to the Palmyra citadel following fighting between Government forces and Islamic State group militants in Palmyra, Syria, Sunday, March 27, 2016. Syrian state media and an opposition monitoring group say government forces backed by Russian airstrikes have driven Islamic State fighters from the historic central town of Palmyra, held by the extremists since May. (SANA via AP)
Palmyra’s Citadel after ISIS

Palmyra The Temple of Bel - November 2004
Palmyra’s Temple of Bel before ISIS

Palmyra ISIS Blowing Up Palmyra
ISIS blowing up the Temple of Bel

Palmyra ISIS Blew up tomb of Mohammed Bin Ali
Palmyra’s Tomb of Mohammed Bin Ali before ISIS


Tomb of Mohammed Bin Ali after ISIS


Corporation Welfare Dependency

Corporate Tax Avoidance

The Panama Papers are all over the news, but what’s the hoopla all about? Too boring to care, right? I can already see your eyes glazing over.

But listen up, and do your Panama Papers homework. Because according to USA Today, of the 500 corporations in the S.&P. 500-stock index, many were both profitable in 2015 and paid NO income tax globally. No wonder they were profitable.

So let’s talk a little bit about entitled corporations.

An Oxfam study released today, states that for each dollar America’s 50 largest companies paid in federal taxes between 2008 and 2014, they received $27 back in federal loans, loan guarantees, and bailouts.

The Oxfam report goes on to say that each $1 that these same companies spent on LOBBYING was associated with $130 in tax breaks.

I don’t know about you, but I could have definitely used a couple of those incentives while preparing my taxes due tomorrow.

The bottom line? While the share of corporation taxation in federal revenue has declined since 1953 from 32% to 11%, the portion coming from payroll taxes (that’s you and me, folks) has climbed.

According to The New York Times, tax dodging by major corporations costs the U.S. Treasury up to 111 billion dollars a year! Yes, you’re reading the figure correctly, and I’ll say it again for good measure.

If the Corporate Tax Code weren’t rigged, the U.S. Treasury would add an extra $111 billion a year to its coffers annually.

I want to throw out some other numbers:

It has been reported that the total cost to prevent lead poisoning in tens of thousands of children annually would cost approximately $2 billion, and another $2 billion or so could end family homelessness.

Think of all the other ways the U.S. could use that $111 billion annually as you maneuver through your due dates, deadlines, and extensions this tax season.

Corporate fraud


Her cross
her loss
was more than
one person
should ever bear.

First her husband.
Then her son.

Before she left
she promised me
a sign.

But it never came.

Almost to the day
I thought that plane
was going to drop
right out of the sky.

When we landed
I couldn’t wait to
kiss the ground.

Its brilliance
caught my eye.

On one side
the year
he was born.

On the other
a mother
and daughter.


I secured it
with shipping tape
inside her
framed photo.

Years later
I spoke of it
to the child.

He sensed its

He asked to see it.

I took the photo
off the shelf
to show him.

But it was gone.

Just tape.

No sign.

I tried to hide
my sorrow.

But the little one
the sensitive one

We looked
and around
for it.

And then
we looked again.

tightly affixed.

The curious one
asked how.

No answer.

Just grief.

A few
weeks later
his tiny hand
fished around
in his pocket.

Its brilliance
caught my eye.

On one side
E Pluribus Unum.
Out of many

On the other
a smiling mother
holding her child.

I could see
he loved it.

Keep it
I tenderly
told him.

It belongs
in the frame
he gently replied.

And pressed it
into my
trembling hand.