Follow the money

money

Welcome to our new banana republic where the government runs roughshod over the people, and many of the citizens are thankful they can be abused.  It seems so wrong, people gleefully surrendering their liberty, yet here we are.  There are so many moving pieces, so much that is wrong, that it becomes easy to feel numb, easy to start thinking this is the way it has to be.  Life does not have to be like this.  It is incumbent on all of us to understand what is really going on and daily remind those in government that this is not ok, we are not going to sit by silently while our country and liberty is destroyed.

There is one basic principle that that we need to understand; one core motivation that brings almost everything into focus.  It is not power or religion, though those are key enablers.  It is money.  This is all about money.  Everyone in this horrible power grab is doing so for the money. Well some are doing it for bigoted reasons, but that a topic for another day.

Let’s start with the horrible healthcare bill in the senate that is about to be jammed down the country’s throat.  There is nothing about this bill that improves healthcare.  Yes, it will probably lower premiums, but this is accomplished by lowering coverages and raising deductibles.  So for less, and in many cases basically no coverage, premiums decrease.  That is not for the public good.  Isn’t that what our government is supposed to do, support and increase the public good, even when difficult.

What this bill really does is move the funds used to defray healthcare costs for the less fortunate of society and move it to the top 1-5%.    The people that can least afford to lose their healthcare are funding a tax reduction for the people that need it the least.  And this is retroactive – the tax reduction for capital gains (the taxes on buying and selling stocks) is retroactive.  This rewards the wealthy for past transactions.  How is this related to healthcare again?

But wait, there is more.  Insurance executive pay (including bonuses) over $500,000 will be receiving a large tax cut as part of this.  Again, how is this related to healthcare or the common good? It is not.  It is about making the rich richer and the poor poorer.  This is key.

But our elected leaders don’t benefit in this, the money doesn’t go to them you say.  Whoops, our elected leaders are either funded by the people who want these laws or actually benefit themselves.  If you don’t know who the Koch Brothers or the Mercers are, it is time to learn.  The Koch brothers spend nearly $1 Billion (!) on national elections to make sure the government is filled with people who will follow their agenda.  Like lowering taxes for the wealthy and eliminating regulations.  Let’s be honest, Koch Industries makes A LOT of money ($100 billion in sales according to Forbes) and these brothers make plenty.  They just want more.

The Mercers on the other hand seem just plain wacko.  You can get a good idea of who they are here and here.  Here’s a few key take aways.  They are the reason Breitbart, Bannon and Conway are behind Trump.  They had thrown their weight behind Cruz, but he is so vile he failed.  They have a few key agenda items.  One religion.  The other is a pending $7 Billion (!) dispute with the IRS.  What’s a few billion if you can save 7?  Their money and their goals permeate many of the actions you see taking place.  Like a tax cut for the rich being called healthcare improvement.  He’ll save 100s of millions with if this legislation passes.

 

So stop and think.  Why do these GOP politicians want so many laws that hurt so many citizens?  They have been paid handsomely to enact this legislation.  Or in other cases, they are just greedy.  Take Tom Price, the HHS secretary.  He was submitting legislation that benefitted companies he owned stock in.  In some cases he was buying the stock at a reduced priced prior to submitting the legislation.  This is text book corruption.  Or if you choose, he was stealing from you, because the stock market is a zero sum game.

Let’s not forget the DeVos/Prince families.  They donate so much money, its not secret they set the agenda for many politicians.  Betsy DeVos, the incompetent Secretary of Education, made no bones about deserving her cabinet post based on her contributions.  So her money is everywhere.  Her agenda is to get the money that goes to public schools funneled to private and religious schools (who cares about the separation of church and state?).  Oh and she also has large stakes in student loan COLLECTION organizations.  She’s rolling back regulations on these types of firms so she can profit.  Money to the church, taken from the public schools.  Money from highly indebted students going to her and her cronies.  She makes money while the haves get richer and the have nots are oppressed.

illeg

And then there is the would be Royal Trump Family.  Every action they take is designed to make money for them.  Every trip to one of Dishonest Donald’s property is a tax payer paid infomercial.  Oh and he’s getting paid for going.  That’s stealing from you and me.  And we as tax payers pay for renting space in his gaudy, golden tower so his family can be protected.

His daughter, how is as evil as her father, attends meetings with national leaders.  Then, amazingly, she gets business favors, copyrights, licenses and donations.  Her husband is just as bad.  He has a debt load that is off the charts.  It is hard to tell, because he keeps leaving his debts off the governmental forms he is forced to fill out.  These loans come from banks under scrutiny from the US government.  Well, mostly the previous administration.  If this scrutiny can be dropped, the money saved will far exceed the hundreds of millions in loans outstanding.

Which brings us back around to Dishonest Donald.  He wants to be the wealthiest of the wealthiest.  When he was on the Comedy Central Roast, the only topic off the table was his wealth.  He once sued a writer who said (and later proved) that the orange one was not a billionaire.  Being wealthy is all he cares about.  Every action he has taken is motivated by the need to enrich himself at our expense.

And if you haven’t read this article on what looks like Trump Organization money laundering, you should.  I didn’t elect a man who seems to enjoy funneling money to Iranian causes.  Why yes that is illegal.  You know he was fined for “continued money laundering” too, right?

Let’s look at his evil travel ban.  It is a Muslim ban, because he believes, wrongly, that all Muslims are evil terrorists.  But if that was the case, why aren’t Saudi Arabia and Egypt part of the ban?  It is because there are Trump properties there.  When Iran and Somalia suddenly need a Trump golf course, remember this.

Follow the money.  It is enabling greed, corruption and oppression.  It is the motivation for everything you are seeing.  I thought we were better than this, but a vocal minority in this country loves it.  I weep for our future.

 

 

 

Myriad Randomness – Drought Edition

As you may have heard, there is drought in California.  What does this mean to me, specifically?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s what I’ve changed.

  • I have a bucket in the shower. I catch the “warm up” to water the tomatoes.  That’s new.
  • I reuse my shower towel “many” times. It is 85+ most days and it dries quickly.  That cuts down on washing.  I did this in college and in my younger days.  No longer is my hamper full of towels.  (You know, that subtle status symbol of being economically stable.)
  • I only run my sprinklers 2 days a week. Usually after 9pm when the sun goes down.  My once envied super green lawn looks like every other sad, green lawn in the Nor Cal.  I haven’t decided to kill it yet.

What does this mean?  We are mandated to cut our usage by 25% from 2013.  May I was down about 50%.  No earth shattering changes.  Just lots of little ones.

I know I’ve been a bit outspoken politically lately.  Quite honestly I’m both thrilled and heartened by many (but sadly, not all) of the responses I have gotten.  Don’t go by the comments here, there aren’t many and I delete all the “I want to kill Ashley” or “I want Ashley to host my Bukakke party” comments.  Most are far worse.

But seriously, how can things continue to unravel in our world?  Pope Francis works hard to bring the Catholic Church into the 20th Century and Fox News calls him the most dangerous man in the world?  People I know on Facebook call him “EVIL”.    I guess the world still must be flat, the sun revolves around the earth and Torquemada was misunderstood.  Really?  You know what I think.  I just can’t understand how some conclusion could be reached, held so tightly and preached so violently.  We know the gene pool is flawed, just saying.

I still love my coffee.  Have you had Equator Coffee?  I’ve been buying their stuff on line (their roastery delivers for free for a $50 order and I have it in 2 days) and now they opened a shop next to the Warfield.  We know mid-Market is on the upswing, but this is huge.  Granted it’s a mile walk from the office, but I get exercise, the coffee is great and they have food too.  Check it out.  Only downside is that their bean selection is limited.  No fear here, I don’t mind the online thing.  The sweet spot is the 2 pound bags.  I’ve been drinking the Brazil 45 Espresso (it makes a mean, well rounded regular cup).  $13.25 for 0.75 lbs.  That’s $17.67/lb.  Or $30.05 for 2lbs.  $15.03/lb a savings of 15%.  Compare that the various coffees at Peets’. They are $14.95-$16.95.  So the same price or less and much more complex and delicious.  And honestly, smelling Major Dickasons at home today, it smelled burnt.  Fantastic coffee doesn’t always mean expensive.  But there are expensive options too.  Ping me if you need coffee advice.

Sandra Bland was in jail for 3 days.  She was arrested for an illegal lane change.  Later, she hung herself in her cell (allegedly).  She was college educated.  She was back in her college town for a job interview. And she was black.  I have about 400 questions.  If you don’t, stop reading this now.  You probably shouldn’t ever come back to this page. I’m sure incidents like this have happened far more often than “white” America realized in the past.  It is glaringly obvious now.  Our blinders are off.  They need to stay off.  I’m not going to pontificate on this today.  But I am outraged.  You should be too.  How can you not be?

I’m pondering a long piece on the death of middle management.  Clearly, I’m not in the top 2% and I see so many fixable issues that are allowed to fester.  That’s what 30+ years of working in corporate America will do for you.  Of course I worry about being to self-centered and whiny.  And that you won’t care.

And for those of you that don’t know, R+L=J.  It is known.  It always has been.   Three words: Tower of Joy.

I’ve read a few things lately that you should might enjoy.  I loved the latest James SA Corey Expanse entry Nemesis Games.  It is getting mixed reviews from my friends, but I’m firmly on board and can’t wait for the show on Syfy.  It looks fantastic.

Tex Thompson’s second book Medicine for the Dead builds on her debut, One Night in Sixes and shows vividly what a fantastic writer she is.  Seriously, in 10 years you’ll wonder how you missed this.  She’s going to be huge.   Trust me.

Did you like Flowers in the AtticJR Johansson’s Cut Me Free builds off a similar premise.  It is defiantly YA, but sometimes I act as if I’m 14, so it makes sense.  I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading more of her stuff.  Especially those that are painted in horror tones.

I’ve never given Leigh Bardugo column space here.  Her Grisha Trilogy is fantastic.  Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising are all great reads.  Her next novel, Six of Crows, is set in the same universe with new characters.  It is scheduled to come out later this year and I’m excited for it.

In the kitchen this year I’ve mastered hummus.  Who’d have thought?  But homemade is so much better than store bought, especially when you can spice it to your tastes.  More lemon? Yes.  More harissa? Yes.  More fresh onion, garlic and herbs? Yes.  Hummus it’s not just for hippies anymore.  No need to wear the tie dye today.  Tomorrow you can.

I’ve also kicked up the frequency on my bacon jam. Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam.  It goes well on crackers, bread, grilled cheese sandwiches AND on your burger.  I made a huge batch and my guests inhaled it.  Guess I’ll need to make more soon.

The view from my building

And I love working in SF.