All posts by Charlie Channel

Taxing Takeway

The reality is simple:

The tax system is a political fiction. Think of the U.S. (or any government’s money pot) treasury (where the treasure is kept) as a bucket. Around that bucket, at the bottom rim, are a bunch of holes. Money is water in the bucket. Fill the bucket to the top and water comes dripping, dribbling or flowing out of the holes around the bottom rim.

Each drip, dribble or water stream out of the bucket is cash flow. It goes as determined by some governmental (ruling) agency (whether it’s thought of as an agency supporting capitalism, socialism or plan corruption). The stuff flows into little cups. You can call them banks, which in turn determines who get the water and allocates how much of the money goes directly or indirectly to businesses or people. The businesses or people are supposed to use the water which then flows to others who are providing goods or services to meet the needs of people. A little bit is put back into the big bucket at the top to keep it flush with $$$.

Ultimately, the big bucket at the top must be, somehow, replenished. Otherwise, the common wealth dries up. That’s what taxes are supposed to do: refill the big bucket.  Obviously, to keep the outflow going, you’ve got to put waster in the top bucket.

That’s the system, in a nutshell.

The zero sum game, therefore, is simply to put more in than is going out, regardless of anything. At least that will hold the water level in the bucket at a constant mark.

Alas, there’s been more going out than is coming in. So, to solve the problem, the Republican administration feels the best way is to put in less. That way, there will be more stuff made or services rendered to people and, hence, more tax revenue raised.  That seems logical. And, it’s easier said than done!

I’m no accountant. However, I’ve heard that the fastest route to bankruptcy is to cut the price (and profit) and make up the short fall with volume. Thinking about it like that, it seems to me that the fastest way to economic collapse is to cut taxes with the (assumed hope) that increased economic activity will generate more business, more cash flow and, thus, more tax revenues.

Can someone explain how decreasing corporate taxes will result in more income to individuals, when — in fact — businesses are more profitable now and wages have simply not kept up with the cost of living.

Smoke and mirrors, that’s what they say: the illusion of political rhetoric every day.

Convergence @ 18

18 years old is where I would have been emotionally and in connection with my instrument at this moment in time.

If you’ve been reading my blog, to this date, you very well might be getting and understanding of who I am and the nature of human being i was destined to become and manifest.

This blog is actually nothing more than a eulogy to my life and time on the planet. No need for anybody to write anything, but i’ve no objection to you, or anyone else, sharing insights.

I was born to be a musician. But, I also wanted a family. Like most kids who want to be a fireman, a cop, a pilot, an astronaut, singer or dancer, I wanted to be a father and have a family.

I am a very lucky guy. I found a woman who consented to be on the family journey with me. And, we were blessed to have four healthy offsprings. Well, relatively healthy.

We lost one along the way at an early point in his brief life. Robin Nicholas brought so much joy and cohesion to our marriage that his loss at the age of 1 year and ten day is incalculable in my mind. The first midnight day without him left me in the darkest and longest night that questioned whether or not the sun would every rise again, whether or not there would be daylight dawning.

It did not dawn for what seemed an eternity. It’s unimaginable and incomprehensible. It is the point at which absolute zero exist, and time itself, ceases.

In that state for an eternity, it seems that it did come … evidently and eventually.

Family: my desire was seeing adultified children achieved in this lifetime, and when my life love and partner died, I was set free to pursue what i am, a musician.

At a later stage in life, knowing that time is limited in this sphere of the Universe, i asked what it would take to be what i felt i am: a musician who desires to be one of the best who has lived.

Four years old, that’s when it happened. I had total and complete understanding of where notes were on the piano. Any note i could think i could find and play on the piano. Any melody i heard i could see on the keyboard and play. That gift left me when i was around six years old. Maybe it was a marble game or a dog chasing me or something. Call experiencing life itself.

Thus, when i again pursuing my true nature, i put my mind in the state it was when i was four years old. Physically, i was and am not the same. But, the power is in the mind. Listen to Raul Midon’s in his performance of State of Mind. He tells you exactly what it’s about.

My progression since serious study and performance of music begana has been from that state about ten years ago. That got me to 16 years of age about 18 months ago.

When i was 16, playing drums, i found it. The place where in my heart and soul, i said i could to what i was doing (playing an instrument) until i die. Of course, i wasn’t accomplished as a musician at that point. And, perhaps, that will be the label that will characterize my state of evolution. i will be  an accomplished musician. As such, i don’t envy virtuosity. Virtuosity is for those who are. They understand what i’m saying. For those who don’t, it’s about the Muse. Period.

Today, 9:11 am on my computer clock, marks the documentation (this note of) convergence of left hand and right hand relative stability on the finger board of my upright bass. That means the ability to find and play notes.

Paul Powell, the musician who gave me my first music lesson, said, “You must master the instrument. You cannot left the instrument be your master.”

Convergence: i’m feeling the manifestation of mastery, knowing and finding the notes on the finger board what do not change their location. The inspiration and focus came from the Monterrey Jazz Festival of 2017.  A special thanks to John and Gerald Clayton. Common, Mr. Sippi, John Ingram, the USC Composers Collective, Linda Oh (who now has a couple of middle names) and Scott Colley, all those Tenor horn players and Mr. Heath … It’s easier to simply acknowledge everyone who attended and everyone who performed at MJF 2017. Thank you for helping me to find it and to manifest the freedom that elicits the “Bravo.” Special thanks to Francois Rabbath, David Allen Moore, Ray Brown (yes, I checked him out in Santa Monica a long time ago), Victor Wooten, and the deep list of humanity to evaporate the illusions of mind — particularly the political illusion.

I’m 18 years old now — fourteen years plus four — psychologically speaking, as a musician.


Monterrey 2017

This year’s Monterrey Jazz Festival will be remembered as a milestone in music, the same as when Hendrix burned a line breaking through barriers and pushing the Muse to the other side of reality.

The Clayton-Hammill “symphony” (yes I call it a symphony in Jazz that redefines the word, because that is what it was), with Gerald Clayton on piano did something that crossed all Western musical boundaries and illusions of the mind. John Clayton’s masterful work will live as a testament and monument of love and truth.

If you were not there, you truly missed it. I’m sure you’ll have an opportunity to hear and see what happened when MJF publishes the DVD.

Here are some pictures, provided by Carlos.


Mr. Sippi Blew the Top Off

Charlie, Carlos and Pascal … wonderful musical memories made!

Rodney …

Korea leads me to Rodney Collins.  Rodney was the brother of my best friend Marcellus Collins (from 1970 until he died around 2002).  Marcellus was from Dania, Florida — outside of Miami.  His Uncle was Wester Sweet, one of the first  African American attorneys in Santa Clara County.

In 1971 Rodney came through San Jose, CA. He had been deployed to South Korea and in 1974 Rodney was Honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. See, Rodney’s “claim to fame” will be that he was one of the last men to have been drafted by the U.S.  His number came up.  The draft was eliminated a few days later.

He served in South Korea.  He told me the day he hit San Jose, CA,  over too many beers, that all he and the others were in South Korea were canon fodder. If anything happened, everyone knew (and he knew for certain) that he was dead.  With my mother’s nephew’s experience, Rodney’s experience shapes my viewpoint of Korea. That thought leads me to the ship wrecks the U.S. Navy has had over the past months.  South Korea, North Korea and the U.S.

I served in the U.S. Navy. I chose that branch of the service as a matter of survival after being drafted. I figured I’d have a higher probability of surviving warfare in the U.S. Navy, more than the U.S. Marines and definitely the U.S. Army. Alas, for me, the armed forces lived up to their reputation as being a place where you’re going to get screwed over.  The reputation was that the recruiter will promise you what you say you want, but that means absolutely nothing.  So, from my perspective, I believed nothing. And, sure enough … although I always wanted to serve on a ship, I never did. That’s right, three years + in the U.S. Navy and I never set foot on a war ship.

I met guys who did. The best ship, I was told, was an aircraft carrier. ‘It’s a city,’ one of my shipmates said. ‘You can get anything you want on a carrier. Dangerous, too. But, the galley is always open.’

There were stories about guys who didn’t get along. Racists or simply real jerks. Sometimes, they just disappeared. “Fell overboard,” I was told. Fantale. Nobody knew anything or saw anything, except the guy wasn’t accounted for when the muster occurred.  The narrative was much like the stories of Fragging ROTC gung-ho order adventurers who everyone in the platoon knew was out to get everyone killed.

All of that gets me to the games played at sea. Sometimes, the game is chicken: who is going to change course based on what maritime rule is in effect and who is going to disregard it.

This year I had to tell a cop, tactfully, that he didn’t know what he was talking about in condemning Obama’s “weak” response to Russian aggression at sea. He was talking loudly to another cop about Obama. The cop’s patriotism was glowing red. And, overhearing his insults,  I asked him what he knew about being on a warship, and whether or not he’d served in the armed forces or on the open seas.

I had to let him understand he was ignorant of reality. I ended my conversation by letting him know what I heard from those who did: “They’re always playing chicken.”

What does that have to do with Rodney Collins?  Nothing, really, except the tensions over North Korean and the collision of two U.S. Navy destroyers (latest and greatest multi-million dollar war machines) makes me wonder exactly what’s going on?

My perspective, as a civilian without any maritime experience, is that the U.S. Navy captains must have been anticipating the behavior of other ships, and acting accordingly. That means some assumptions were made. And, as you know to assume is to make and “ass” our of “u” and “me.”

What I don’t understand is that with all the technology, the computing power and radars and personal watch or observations, how collision was not anticipated.

Sure, there are currents, wind, mechanical response or failure unforeseen at the time and other stresses. Still, collision avoidance must be fundamental to the operation of a vessel. In warfare, their are both enemy and friendly vessels that will be encountered. There must be a way to keep track (regardless of the number of vessels) and know friend from foe, and avoid unintended collisions.

So, the question, operationally is: What in hell happened? And, how did it happen a second time? There must be something related to operations and tactics used in the operation that is common to both collisions of the destroyers. After all, a destroyer is the fastest, most maneuverable and lethal weapons of naval warfare.

These are serious questions I think will be answered in time.  I thought about these matters in relationship to North and South Korea, geopolitical entities I can always look at and point to as examples of human insanity and proclivities.

The “north” hates the “south.” “White” hates “black.”  “Heterosexual” hates “homosexual.”  “English” hate “Spanish.” “Catholics” hate “Protestants.” “Arabs” hate “Jews.” Any and every excuse to hate and kill exists.  It doesn’t matter. Factor our one noun and somebody will find another reason to hate and kill. “Red” versus “Blue.” Someone will always find something to fight over and draw the line in the sands of time.

I write all of this looking at Trump’s conduct and wondering  who will get this all under control.



My mother had a sister, whom she called “Sissy,” I believe. Or he could have been aunt Pearl’s son.   In any event, one of her sisters had a son, a Nephew.  Last name: Stallworth. Mom told me he’d been in the Army. There were always members of my family who’d served. Uncle B.C., Big Cousin, Reggie, Johnny A. Stallworth, Adolphus Stallworth. On my father’s side was his brother (that’s Benjamin Caldwell (aka “B.C.”), Johnny Boy King and a couple of others I don’t know, forgot or who otherwise related (there’s a bunch, I assure you).

My mother had always talked to me about things.  White people, and what they’d done or could do.  Relatives back in St. Louis. Sisters and cousins.  One day, she told me about one of her nephews. She told me about Stallworth and that he’d served in the war and got shot.

She told me her nephew was coming to visit us one day.  And, I was going to meet him. I was thrilled and honored with disbelief to actually meet a man who had been in battle, who had got a Purple Heart. The day for his arrival came. I waited for him anxiously, walking around the house, opening the front door. It seemed like hours passed.

I was just about to walk outside after opening the door for the upteenth time, when there he was walking in the gate, with a gold tipped can, one leg bent and stiff. Nice suit and tie, gentlemanly, with nice shoes.

Sitting on the couch with inches between us, he told me of being a machine gunner with other guys in a fox hole with bunkers in front facing the enemy line.  He said they were coming in waves. “Human waves,” I thought, remembering with my father told me. The strategy was to have more people killed than the enemy had bullets. That’s how they fought.

The machine guns used were air cooled. That meant when rounds were fired rapidly, the heat from the explosion of gunpowder would cause the barrel to heat up. When it became too hot, you can get premature ignition and misfire and jam. Thus, there were multiple (two) barrels and asbestos gloves. A cool barrel would be substituted for the useless one to keep firing.

‘They came so fast and so many, the barrel that was hot and useless had not cooled down before the one being used glowed red hot.’ He tried to change the barrel with the cooling one, but the heat from the hot barrel seared through the glove.

‘They kept coming.’

I asked, “Did the machine gun work at all?”

He told me it didn’t, even with the cooler barrel.  The other guns didn’t help at all. They kept coming.  He surmised it must have been a grenade or a mortar. Then he said, “The next thing I remember, I saw one-half of my buddy coming down, sliding towards me. ‘The next thing I remember was a bunch of men sort of uniforms standing over me. One of them saw my wedding ring and wanted it. He grabbed my hand and tried to pull it off and it would come off. Then, he took a machete and whacked off fingers including the one with the ring, took the ring.

‘The next thing I remember is being in Heaven. The most beautiful White woman was there, looking at me. Long blonde hair. Actually, I thought she was an angel, and all angles look like that.’

‘I was in a hospital, and had come too. I was in Guam.’

He laughed and laughed about that. He stayed with us a few hours. He showed me his medal, but quickly put it away not wanting to have it distracting the visit. He told me other things, most of them I can’t remember. But who I am is a reflection of what he said. I listened on that old red corduroy couch.

Soon, he asked Mom to call a Yellow Cab. We asked him to stay, but, he was on schedule and had to continue on his journey.

I looked him up a couple of years ago. You can do it too via WWW.  Just put in Stallworth Korean machine gun Texas. I found him It really happened.  Keep the peace, brothers and sisters.


The Righteous Fight or How to Not Lose

From a man with a sixth grade education:

  1. Never start a fight in another man’s neighborhood.  He knows the alleys better than you (since he lives there)
  2. Never jump into a fight between closely related relatives (brothers, cousins or uncles, boy friends versus girl friends, vice versa). They will both turn on you.
  3. Do any and everything you can to avoid fighting. Running away is not an act of cowardice, but wisdom.  And always avoid or evade (to the extent humanly possible) physical confrontation.
  4. Do not routinely carry a weapon to be used for deadly confrontation. If you have a weapon on your person, you will likely believe and subconsciously be motivated to use it, rather than seeking an alternative to the use of deadly force (see # 3). Above all, it will prevent “pre-emptive” use of force, that results in unintended consequences of misjudgement. If ever alcohol is out, being served or drank, leave! Bad misunderstandings have occurred among best friends.
  5. If you must fight, being without escape or without any other choice, fight with all your life to win and use any and everything at hand to survive and defeat the enemy.

Those are the rules of life taught me by my father, Charlie Estus Ezell Channel, Sr.  I have found that the application of those principles personally and in the political realm is the best standard of morality and justification for the use of deadly force, in any situation.


Note:  If George W. Bush had applied such common sense (that a man with only a sixth grade education, who picked cotton in the fields of Texas at the age of 4 did), the unintended consequences and meaningless loss of life and wasted sacrifice would have been obviated.

So, now, Mr. Trump has decided to violate common sense.  Let me be clear:  If the Russians got their asses kicked in Afghanistan, where the lines of logistics were shorter and there was less concern about collateral damage, What in the name of security is the so-called “leader” of the free world, and his ilk, thinking?


Make Life!

Terrorist need know this:

The more life you take, the more life we make. The pain that you cause only amplifies love, for each person (man or woman) knows that’s all that matters and it’s a gift from above.  It’s a gift terror can’t take. Terror makes more people than can be killed by the sickness of violence that makes them ill.

There are more of us than they. And, that’s why we shall stay.

The Ace of Spades, The King of Hearts to Heather

Truth is the Ace of Spades
Love is the King of Hearts
Life is the Gift of Being
Talk is the Voice of Thinking
Trump is a Card called Luck
Superstitiously Passing the Buck
Light is the Will to Duck
Time is the Tribute to Made by
Blood is Debt Paid
Killing Failures to See
Freedom, Equality, Decree

Puppetry: Leaking Whistle

Puppetry: Wrongfully controlling, or attempting to control another immorally or illegally, without disclosing the existence of strings.

When a leaker hits a moral dilemma, there is always a choice:  So, remember:

When you hear a leak in a pipe, you may hear only a hiss or a whistle indicating something is wrong.  Be thankful you hear it, for it may warn of disaster or catastrophe.  Appropriately, when you hear a leak by a human (more intelligence involved than a failing pipe or improperly connected pipe), the whistle is a signal.  In the case before us the human is a”leaker.”  Every Whistle Blower is leaking something.  If you truly think about it, every Whistle Blower is, essentially, a leaker.

Calling a name with a negative connotation (leaking is “bad”) and out of context should be crime itself. Actually, when I think about it, lying is a crime in many instances.

Life Is a No-Trump Game

Life: A Trump Card is Useless …

I am aware that the inventory of houses for sale on the market has increased (even as prices have decreased), even in the $700 k range in my neighborhood. In addition, landlords are finding tenants moving out, having multiple families living in single family dwellings and garages.  A guy around the corner just had to do a lot of work to restore his rental to a habitable condition -- including having a disabled vehicle towed away that was left by the last tenants.

Coupled with that fact is there has been an increase in the number of rental units on market, based on large apartment/condo construction projects that have been completed. I find the Bay Area ripe for increases in population, without the infrastructure to support the higher density of residents.  Traffic is often 405 branded on 101 these days. It takes 45 minutes to get from Oakland to SF via the Bay Bridge from 6 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Prospective sellers should taken the money (lower price offered for real property) and ran with it.  There is some hope, however. When people flee the stock market, as it compresses, they will seek other places to park their cash. Real estate is more secure than stocks or corporate bonds. Government bonds are most secure; however, the return on capital is very small. Thus, capitalist investors are stuck with parking their bucks in real estate. They've already done that, as that's why real estate prices have inflated so much.

Last note on the subject:  It takes a minimum wage of $50/hour to afford rent payment on a 2 bedroom, 1 bath dwelling unit in the SF Bay Area (in the Chronicle a couple of days ago). Now, couple that with the post WW2 standard that you spend not more that 25% of your income on housing, save at least 10% of your income for the future, reserve at least 5% of income for emergencies, use the rest for food, clothing and big ticket items (like refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, cars, etc.) and have 5% form mad money (Las Vegas is as good as anything else for leisure activities) -- and personal income builds in enough to take a vacation with family every year (for quality of life) by one man working (i.e., the living wage of the one man working and the woman home making), you've got the middle class dream fulfilled.

OK, that changed to 50% of income allocated to housing, and assuming the woman is no longer working exclusively inside the home a few years ago.  You can clearly understand the dilemma of the government (which prints dollars), whether here or around the world. Related are social and political issues (both domestically and abroad) that radically effect what can and cannot be done.

I lied:  One last thought (which should have come first).  Donald Trump gets it all wrong, unfortunately and stupidly. He's now given a General the power to set troop needs for the Afghanistan blunder.  Since Trump is ignorant of history, he fails to see that sending in more troops only increases the certainty of more casualties, which only increases the need to send in more troops to stabilize and solve the problems there.  Gee (a euphemism for "Jesus Christ"), looks a lot like Viet Nam to me. And, we know what the results were there.  But, those opposed to the tactical and tactful political move of Obama made (the "haters") are bound and determined to have it their way.

The legacy of Trump will be that he, and his administration, was a card those seizing power attempted to play in a game that had, at its core, cards that were held in a world declaring a game of "no trump."  For those unaware of the game of Bridge or Spades or Hearts, you must play the hand dealt and there is no special card that is better than the Ace of Spades or King of Hearts!