Hershey’s – Get Lost

downloadRead the article below and write to the Queen. Hershey’s-what a bunch of wankers! I am hereby starting a petition to have any and all Hershey product not only banned from my house but from any home in the UK too.

If they think this is going to stop me flying back to London, filling up three suitcases at a time with Cadbury product, then they have another thing coming. Last time I arrived in the USA with 2 full suitcases jammed with Dairy Milk, the customs officer congratulated me for bringing ‘decent’ chocolate into the country. What on earth is Hershey thinking about here? Their chocolate is SHITE, with a capital S.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/24/nyregion/after-a-deal-british-chocolates-wont-cross-the-pond.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=mini-moth&region=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below&_r=1

Let’s Pay More Tax- It’s Fun!

Are you middle class? I am supposedly middle class, although sometimes when I look at my bank balance I think I am certainly of the poorer variety. When I turned on the TV Tuesday evening to listen to President Obama give his state of the union address, it had already been leaked by the press that more tax hikes were in the offing. “Well” I thought, “how much more can it possibly go up and why would he even think about doing this when he has lost all control of Congress” Soon enough, my viewing was rewarded with the Presidents outline of his ‘brave new world’ a world in which hand outs are king, hard-working ‘middle class’ people meaningless and where rich people are cast aside as the aliens they deserve to be. What was Obama thinking? Who is advising him and why on earth doesn’t he realize that his moronic antiquated policies are condemning not only his legacy but the legacy of all who side with him.

I pay 50% in tax, now, if the President has his way, I will pay 53%. Why should I work? What’s the point? The 53% that I have to give up to our government will only be used to fund project for those who don’t work, don’t want to work or can’t work. While my heart goes out to anyone in that situation, truly it does, why is it me and the rest of the populace in my tax bracket who are always the one’s to fund them? Why do I need to contribute more than half of what I earn to people I don’t know, people who may or may not be genuine and to people with whom I will have no say on how they spend my money? It’s ridiculous to think that every $100,000 I earn, $53,000 goes into a never ending drain. Did you know that in California alone, only 23% of the population pay tax? 23%!!! What are all the rest doing? That’s why the Democrats rule this State and that’s why this state is in a complete mess, as are many other sates and that’s why I am pissed off. Run your affairs properly. Run the government efficiently, run the state in a way that makes Fiscal sense, but don’t come begging for my money or anyone else’s money and don’t keep begging until my well is completely dry and I then find myself with that very same begging bowl in an outstretched arm pleading for a reprieve!

I have a good friend who wants to make a will. We discussed it this morning. She wants to leave money to her mother, God only hopes that her mother doesn’t outlive her, but she has an issue. Her exact words, “if I leave money to my mother and she inherits, then all her benefits will be cut off, and she is very sick so I am not going to leave her anything!” Isn’t that the most ridiculous scenario you ever heard? How have we become this nation of takers and how do we get out of it? The answer is very simple. The more that Obama gives, the more votes the Democrats will receive, so we will end up in a downwards spiral towards socialism and poverty, poverty that will be so wide-spread that the richest 1% everyone talks about, will be out of sight from a financial standpoint, for all eternity. And it’s not just here in America, it’s all over the world. They announced this week that by 2020, 1% of the world’s population will own more than the rest of the 7 billion who also inhabit the planet, combined! Now there’s a scary thought.

I have no choice but to sit and watch as all my hard work goes down the drain as my cash surplus goes to feed a government that’s out of control, fed by a frenzied President with nothing to lose. He’ll soon be on the dinner circuit earning $250,000 a speech but the question remains, will he pay his own 53% tax rate or will you and I still be funding his poet presidential antics?

What Happened To Humor?

imagesA Muslim called Mohammad who owns a watermelon stall in a Paris suburb is sick and tired of Chaim, a little Jewish boy from the same neighborhood, coming past his stand every day and stealing a watermelon. Mohammad decides he’s going to put an end to this and sticks a sign outside his store which read “One Of These Watermelons Is Infused With Cyanide!” Undeterred, Chaim comes past the store on that very same afternoon and while Mohammad isn’t looking, he sticks another sign up stating, “AND NOW THERE ARE 2!”

Why would that joke upset anyone? I can give you a hundred reasons I suppose, but then again, I can’t give you any!

I heard a program on the BBC World Service last night. It was broadcast with the intention of trying to explain this Muslim uprising around our planet. Seemingly they all believe, (by saying ALL, I am of course generalizing), that the end of days is about to happen, as prophesied in the Koran, an end of days that would begin in Syria, Yemen and one or two other hot spots around the world. It tried to suggest that the reasons for all this violence we are witnessing, most of which isn’t even mentioned in our news bulletins, is completely justified in the eyes of the Jihadist factions that we see taking over our headlines every day. They all believe that the end of days is a significant event that they can help accelerate with their violent disruptions of our daily lives in order that they can be with the prophet Mohammad for all eternity. They will do their very best to bring about a nuclear Armageddon or any other kind of final solution to bring this planet to its final conclusion as soon as possible.

My question is, how fucking stupid are these idiots? Brainwashed and misinformed, they continue to create chaos in the lives of those who couldn’t give a rat’s arse about their beliefs. I really don’t care who you are or what you believe in, honestly, I really don’t, just don’t ram it down my fucking throat and don’t think that because you believe, I should too. I respect you for the views you have, as long as you respect that not everyone else wants to share those same views. Get a sense of humor for goodness sake. Who cares that there are cartoons depicting Mohammad in unfortunate poses, and if not Mohammad, Jesus, Buddha or even the Chief Rabbi. It’s only humor! It isn’t insulting to anyone unless you have a preconceived conviction of causing violence for any reason whatsoever, and this ‘trigger point’, a simple piece of satire, gives you the excuse you are looking for to go out and kill, which it obviously does. Get a life! We all want a life, so let us live it our way, and you live yours your way. If you don’t like the way we live ours then fuck off to a place where you won’t every see us or hear us. We want peace, we want laughter, we want love. What we don’t want are antagonistic self-centered idiots who think their way is the only way. That includes America, the UK and all the other countries around the globe who feel that invading other cultures in order to ‘improve’ them, is right. It’s not, it’s all terribly wrong.

No one ever died off this planet, and quite possibly no one ever will, so pack up your guns and get out your pens, your smiles and your ability to compromise. We all need one another now, more than ever so wouldn’t it be great if we could all just get along?

Chaim opened a store opposite his great foe, Vikram, in London’s Nottinghill Gate. Vikram put up a sign that read ‘Bacon, $4.99/lb” so that very same day Chaim put up a sign that read ‘Bacon, $3.99/lb’ Vikram was pissed and when he arrived at his shop on the next morning he changed his sign to read ‘Bacon$2.99/lb’ only to be trumped once again by Chaim on the same morning, when he changed his sign to read,’Bacon $1.99/lb’

Vikram was pissed, so with venom in his brain, he sprinted across the street to Chaim’s store and confronted him , face to face. “Why is it when I put out a sign for bacon at $4.99/lb, you change your sign to $3.99, then I go to $2.99 and you go to $1.99? You are killing my business” he spat. Chaim looked at him straight in the face and said, “Vikram I don’t give a hoot about your business, I don’t sell bacon!”

Free Speech and Racisim

downloadI’m so pleased we told the North Korean’s to fuck off. Who the fuck do they think they are anyway. Stand up for free speech, stand up for anything that pisses that tin pot country off. In fact, stand up for anything that pisses anyone off. These days we are so politically correct it just annoys the heck out of me. Who cares if you make jokes or comments about race, religion, politics? Who cares? Rev Al Sharpton for sure. I met him once. I was on a flight to Chicago from NY and he was sitting next to me until Rev Jesse Jackson boarded and they very politely asked me to trade seats so they could sit together. Al, as I called him then, was rather larger than he is now, Jesse, rather tall and quite eloquent. He insisted I call him ‘friend’, which I did, with much gratitude. I told him he looked more imposing in person than he did on TV and he didn’t know whether to take that as a compliment or not. I then asked him if he enjoyed racist jokes. He said he did, so I told him and “Al”, several mind bogglingly dirty and quite racist ditties that I had in my ‘routine’. They pissed themselves laughing, especially at the one where I asked them the difference between a kipper and an Indian. After I was done, they retreated into private conversation and I went to sleep for an hour. We bid farewell in Chicago and they thanked me profusely for ‘making their day’. The next time I saw ‘Al’ he was 150 pounds lighter and a damn sight more serious as he stood behind a bunch of ‘hard done by’ citizens, protesting some injustice that he just HAD to become a part of. Whenever they need a spokesman, ‘Al’ is always there, and sometimes Jessie too. In fact I had to laugh last week when Jesse turned up in CA at the Apple HQ to lead a protest about wage inequality. The newsreader told us he was there to ‘lead the line’ as normal people begged for a raise in their minimum wage and an increase in benefits for all creeds and colors. So there’s Jesse, waxing lyrical on how the US is lagging behind the rest of the world and pleading continuously for his President, Obama, to make everything equal or better for those who have so little. I looked at this scene, gobsmacked that this hypocrite could stand there in all his glory with all his millions in the bank and claim to know anything about equality. And his flock, led by this rich boy, standing and applauding his words as he dished out his manifesto on why the rich were getting richer and the poor, poorer. Perhaps he should have looked in the mirror before he opened his mouth. His sense of humor, that which I’d found to be ‘elastic’ on the flight I’d met him, has deserted him. He no longer, at least in public, will have anything to do with a world that isn’t politically correct, because his ‘sponsors’ are pleading with him and ‘Al’ to brave their continual cause to rid the planet of anything that doesn’t suit them.

And then there’s the great leader of North Korea. What a prick he is. The stupid fucker plays mind games with the rest of the planet and yet, believe it or not, he has no fucking brain! He’s a complete knob. A little rich boy, groomed to take power after daddy died, Kim Jung-un, better known to the world as asshole! Who does he think he is and what kind of regime is he running? One where the country is starving and he’s living the life of Reilly? At the end of the day, we as a nation cannot bow to stupidity, and Kim is the voice of stupidity all be it a dangerous voice.

I urge you to stand up for what we believe in. I urge you not to bow to racism or to the denial of free speech and finally, I urge you all to have a wonderful, happy, prosperous and healthy new year.

By the way, one is brown and smelly, the other is a fish!

 

Give Me My Money Back -Part 5

Melvin Stewart sat behind a screen at the end of the line marked “New Immigrants Only” as I made my way back into the USA through SFO. Mel, as I would come to call him after our friendship blossomed, was about 5’9″, African American, stout and knurly. He had a beard, mustache and wicked sense of humor. I obviously was tired after spending 11 hours at the ‘back of the bus’ coming in from London and by the time a family of 6 who were lined up in front of me finished at the counter with Melvin, I just wanted in and wanted to go home. I sauntered up, big brown envelope at the ready, smiling and full of the joys of springtime.

“Good afternoon Sir” Melvin began, “and you are coming into the United States because…?’ he stopped dead in his speech.

I looked at the illuminated red sign directly above his head which read, “NEW IMMIGRANTS ONLY” and then I looked back at Melvin. I did it again, just for effect. His poker face never wavered. I knew then that this wasn’t going to be easy and even though I wanted to say something like “what the fuck do you think I’m coming into the country for you asshole”, I said to him very politely, “I just got the paperwork for my green card in London and was directed to this line by that sign up there” smiling again as I pointed to the red neon above his head. His interrogation began in earnest. I’d heard it all before and was frustrated that yet again I was being subjected to further investigation.

“Where have you been, how long were you there, who did you see in London, what do you do, are you married, do you have kids etc, etc”

So tedious, so unnecessary, and so frustrating.

When Melvin was done with his standard questioning, we began chatting, as normal people would, about life, love and other great mysteries that couldn’t be solved in the 5 minutes we spent together. By the time he was ready to stamp my passport allowing me entry into the US with a Visa that would last 180 days, ample time to obtain my green card in the mail one would have thought, Mel and I were best buddies and arranging to go for dinner that very next week. We turned out to be the greatest friends, a friendship that lasted for too few years unfortunately, but friends we were and with my new freshly inked stamp inside my British passport, I exited into the customs hall to reclaim my bags.

One would think that would be the end of my immigration woes, just like it will be for the 5 million or so who will receive and amnesty from Obama in the coming months. No, unfortunately it wasn’t. It was just the beginning, and when I think back now to the aggravation I was about to receive, it pisses me of greatly that the 5 million who will receive this amnesty from our President will not have to go through the grief, financial hardship, verbal abuse, and most of all the sincere dislike of anything governmental or ‘red tape’ appropriate, that I had to endure. Maybe it doesn’t piss me off, perhaps it just infuriates me that I did the right thing, went the right way, spent more than the right kind of money, received less than the right degree of acceptance, and I did it the way it was supposed to be done. So why shouldn’t they? I know there are plenty of you out there saying, ‘well that’s exactly right, the system is broke to let’s let them all in and the system will be fixed’ NONSENSE! The system is broken because those who have abused it, broke it! Politicians tend to feed off the weak in this case and are desperate to become ‘do-gooders’ . Although not everyone in the House supports the idea of this amnesty, the issue goes much deeper that just telling someone, “come into the country now, you’re going to be made very welcome”  The situation is made worse by the fact there’s one rule for one and one for another. It took me 9 years and a ton of cash to get a green card, but if I’d been Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indian or come from another ‘persecuted’ nation or sect, I would have received my documentation in the drop of a hat. There would have been fewer interviews, no cash outlay, and certainly no 9 year wait. Unfortunately it’s one rule for some and one for the others. There’s even a third rule for those in the know, as my next blog will point out. No matter what, the system is entirely flawed. From start to finish, there is NO system, as proven by this ‘amnesty’, and that’s what I find so frustrating.

I was told my green card would arrive in 3 months max. 5 months later, still no green card and my concern then became one of visa renewal to ensure I could keep traveling in and out of the US. This my friends is where the story became rather silly.

I’d tried calling, writing, emailing, and going in person to the Immigration building at 444 Washington St, San Fransisco. It was becoming a real issue. My visa was running out, my green card hadn’t shown up and my life was about to get very difficult if it didn’t make the transition. I needed that card. I’d tried everything, I’d even spoke to Errol my attorney, but no one could help. I was in the hands of that great unknown called the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, aka, the government! I was about two weeks out from losing all foreign travel privileges when one afternoon my phone rang. It was Melvin.

“I’m out of SFO, and I was promoted to INS in Washington St”

“No way!!!” I shouted. “I need you! When do you start?”

“Next Monday” he said.

Well that turned out to be a complete lifesaver. Melvin started his new job on Monday and I went to meet him for lunch on Tuesday, the day after he’d begun. I explained my issue and hey presto! Within 20 minutes I had my new visa! He’d walked into a room and updated it to last another 6 months. If he hadn’t done that I would have had to go to my local INS office in San Jose, take a number and sit all day in the hope that someone would see me. I was home and dry, or so I thought. It never works out that way though, does it?

The day Melvin died, I was in my office thinking that I had to call him when my phone rang. His wife gave me the news and as suddenly as she was there, she was gone and the line went dead. No Melvin, no green card, no friendship anymore. He passed of cancer. No waiting around, dead within weeks of diagnosis. Poor Mel. not only had he met my family, my kids and my friends, he’d been a huge influence in obtaining assistance for me when all seemed lost. I still miss him.

5 more months passed, no green card. I needed to go to the INS office on Monterey Rd San Jose. I had no other options this time.

To describe this INS office as a ‘shithole’ would be an understatement. This is the system, or at least it was when I was going through all my trials and tribulations. You show up ay 5 am. They don’t open until 8. There have been people sleeping outside all night. You join the line. People, probably illegals, go up and down the line selling drinks and food. You cannot leave that line. The first time you arrive you don’t know that you need a seat to make the 3 hour wait until opening time bearable. It’s a zoo, the car park is huge but old and waterlogged, even though it never rains here. People come from all walks of life, but the majority of those waiting are Hispanic. By 7 AM the line is at least 300 yards long. By 8 Am there’s a man who comes from inside the building and begins walking down the line counting bodies and determining who won’t be seen that day. The numbers are obviously calculated from years of experience and the shut off number can mean the difference between being seen around 4 PM or not at all and therefore having to come back the next day. The first time I showed up it was 3 PM in the afternoon and after some discussion with the security guard, I was educated on what not to do and how not to do it, enabling me to show up at a set time and be seen. This office works on a numbers system. You come, you take a number and you wait and wait and wait some more. I ended up going there more than three times, each time I arrived at 5 AM and each time I never left until after 4 PM. My honest opinion about this place is reflected very kindly in that one word description above, but my true feelings towards this office and the people who ran it, are just too hard to explain. My blood still boils even today, some 14 years later, when I sit down to write this.

At 8 AM the doors opened and in we filed. I took a number and sat, and sat and sat. I read, I read some more and eventually, just after lunch I was called. I got to the window and explained to the officer my predicament. His words were astounding.

“You are at the wrong place, you need to go upstairs, which is appointment only, and they will sort this issue for you.”

“Upstairs?” I was flabbergasted. “What’s upstairs?” He passed me a form, told me to call, make the appointment and then come back. What a waste of a day.

I went outside, called the number from my cell phone and was immediately placed on hold. Surprise, surprise! They never did answer. I held for over an hour, put the phone down and headed home defeated. Where was Mel when I needed him. Heaven I suppose, probably sitting behind a desk turning back all those who’d arrived illegally and should be sent back to Hell!

After two days I finally spoke to a human being, although I use that term loosely.

Appointment made, I returned, this time at 7 AM for an appointment that was at 10 AM. Yes, you read that correctly. The system didn’t allow anyone inside that INS building after 8 AM. As I mentioned, they counted them off to avoid not only congestion, but also disappointment. Even with an appointment I had to be there early, just not that early!

I was sent upstairs where I waited, then I waited some more. I was seen at 10 AM prompt. To the best of my memory, here’s the conversation.

Me, “I need a Visa renewal on my green card”

Him “Where’s your green card?”

Me “Hasn’t shown up yet”

Him “Well I can’t extend that visa, just be patient it will show”

Me “No, it’s been a year, I’ve had this renewed once already and I travel a lot, I need to have it renewed again”

Him “You’re in the wrong department. You have to come back tomorrow, take a number downstairs and wait in line”

Me “I did that already, they sent me to you”

Him “No one sends you to me, you need to make an appointment”

I was beginning to see what the intelligence required was to stay in this job!

Me “Can I see your boss?”

Him “Why?”

Me “Because you have no idea what you are doing!”

Him “Please leave sir. NOW!”

Two days later I came back at 5 AM and took a number and at 4 PM when I got to the front of the line they told me I had to make an appointment to go upstairs. I was very unhappy, quite dejected and definitely annoyed to the point where I wanted to burn the place down. Surrounded by sweat, BO, ignorance and frustration, no one could get me to the right person, AND not only that, I spent three days of my life doing this to get absolutely nowhere. And then, just as I was about to give up, my savior arrived! In all its Green glory, when I returned home that night, there is was, shiny, perfect, beautiful although it was PINK not fucking green! My card!!!

I was half way to citizenship. Green card followed by US passport is the order of events, but you need to be a green card holder for between 3 to 5 years before you can even apply for a passport and I was some way off being able to do that. Obtaining a passport would be yet another ordeal, probably as great if not greater that the story I just told you, but that’s for another day.

My heart goes out to those who are here by default, but come on, let’s face it, to let them all in for free and without penalty of process is, in my opinion, so very wrong. They SHOULD have to go through what every other immigrant has to go through. Legal and biding are the results and even though it was painful and elongated, the process is rewarding. Obama you are the fraud, not those who you’ve reprieved. You never had to go through this to get your passport but perhaps you should have do so just to see how difficult it is and how frustrating the whole system is. I want you, Mr. President, to return my money, the money I spent becoming part of the process. If 5 million are to get an amnesty, what about the previous 100 million from the past 150 years? What about us, the one’s who did it the right way, the legal way, the only way we knew?

 

Give Me My Money Back -Part 4

Three of us shared a ride back to the embassy. We were admitted through a side gate and ushered into an anti-room where we sat until the rest of the group showed up. It took about half an hour and several more panic attacks before we were all reunited. Then the fun began.

My briefcase had become a burden. I’d not opened it all day and I’d schlepped it all over London pending inspection by the US authorities. It seemed that all my best efforts retrieving documents from marriage, previous divorce, current living situation, banks, lawyers etc, had been for nothing. No one wanted to see it. I’d heard nothing but horror stories all day about friends of some of the applicants in my group who’d married US citizens and been visited regularly by the INS,(Immigration and Naturalization Service), just to see if they were still living with one another. This hadn’t happened to me just yet and I was hopeful it wouldn’t. Of course mine wasn’t a ‘marriage of convenience’ as some of the other’s had been.

The roll call began. 3 at a time they began calling applicants towards the very same desks we’d stood some 6 hours earlier. One by one they received yellow papers, X-ray’s and a large brown envelope. Sweaty palms became sweaty bums as the countdown to my calling got closer. I could see that so far everyone was smiling. No one had been refused on medical grounds. Then it arrived, that call, MY call. I was stunned at first, woken from my thoughts, but within milliseconds I was at the desk and being told I’d passed. Relief, total relief was the only feeling that came to mind, but before I’d had a chance to celebrate I was forced to concentrate for several minutes more as the officer explained the next procedure. He ran through the do’s and don’ts and then handed me an envelope, the same brown envelope everyone else had received. As he handed it over he shook my hand and said “Welcome to the United States.” Happiness!

The do’s were simple. I had to return to the US within 6 months. I had to enter through a special channel, even though I lived there, had a house and business there, and even though I paid tax there, I still had to comply. I was told that my green card would become permanent within 6 months and that the stamp they’d placed in my British passport would suffice until the card arrived by mail. I was free to go in and out of the country as often as I liked and as long as I returned within 6 months of each departure, paid my taxes and remained a good boy, I would be able to keep my green card for ten years without renewal.

The don’ts,well, they were simple. Don’t commit any crime. Don’t screw the IRS. Don’t get divorced before two years of marriage were completed. Don’t piss off the US government and don’t, whatever you do, lose the damn card!

With all said and done, I left, sorry, we ALL left the embassy. Time to celebrate. It was 4PM and I was going home, not to the US quite yet, but home to my place in the London suburb of Epsom. I would call my wife, see my son and generally have a very happy evening. The trials and tribulations of not only that day but the days and years prior to that had really been exhausting. It was so hard to explain to anyone how difficult this process had been and now how worthwhile it had become. The elation and relief of that moment went hand in hand with the disappointment of the length of time required to do this properly and more importantly, legally! I could never go through that again, or so I believed, but I certainly didn’t have to. I could never have gone through the illegal channel for fear of being caught and then deported leaving me with no chance to recover and try again. I felt a belonging, an affinity to those millions who’d come through Ellis Island, to those who’d come the right way, not the wrong way, and most of all I felt I’d fulfilled a dream or at least part of.

My next task was to return home to America. I booked a flight that night and with my HIV free certificate in my hand, I went to sleep knowing part of my journey was now complete.