#SoldOut Raising Funds and Awareness

I recall many years ago standing on the terraces at Hampden Park, Glasgow with 145,000 other rabid fans, waiting for the teams to come out of the tunnel to begin the annual Scotland v England ‘Home International’ football,(soccer), game. There would always be 140,000 Scots and about 5,000 English fans in attendance. As a Scot, born and bred, I was brought up, just like the majority of others who were standing around me, to ‘hate’ the English with a vengeance. It was just part of our parochial culture at that time, and probably still is today, although I have not lived in Scotland for 40 years and with the demise of Scottish football and an awareness that political correctness is now the order of the day, perhaps the ferocity of that hatred has mellowed. The two teams, now standing in the center of the field, would face the main stand, where all the dignitaries were seated, and the British national anthem would begin, God Save the Queen. This was before the Scots were allowed to sing their own anthem, a change in protocol that occurred some years later. The band, yes, a real brass or bagpipe band, would strike up the first chord and immediately there would be a wall of noise emanating from the Scottish support just booing as loud as possible at the UK anthem. It completely drowned out the band and any semblance they had in mind of being heard as a unit. We hated that anthem, supposedly, and we all gave it little or indeed no respect. Within seconds, our vocal distaste of everything that the British Monarchy stood for was demonstrated by this blasphemous howling and booing which seemed to last an eternity, but which in fact lasted only about 120 seconds, the length of the British national anthem being quite short. Once over, the game began and the fact that 140,000 Scottish football fanatics had remonstrated vocally against our forced inclusion under the monarchy we all loved, or at least some of us loved, was soon forgotten as the football took over and blood and guts was then spilled on the field of play rather than on the streets of Glasgow. It should also be noted that while the anthem was sung by the players on the field from the England team, all the Scottish team just stood in silence, some smiling, some not, but to a tee, not one of the Scottish team would sing along. It was an unwritten rule, followed religiously. Silent protests against supposed oppression, acceptable and respected throughout the world. No harm done, no one to cry foul. Until now!

When Colin Kaepernick knelt down for the Star Spangled Banner whilst playing for the San Francisco 49rs some two years ago, the whole world, at least the world that surrounded American Football and Donald Trump, went berserk, and for what reason? Well as far as I can tell, the National Anthem was never played at any sporting event before the end of the second world war. And even after that, there were sports events in the USA where the anthem remained just a figment of everyone’s imagination, laying silent as battle commenced on the field of play. So why, all of a sudden, after Kaepernick and some of his fellow Pro’s decided to protest, quite justifiably in silence to make what has turned out to be a very relevant point on an issue that has haunted this country for generations, has the President of the United States and the owners of some of the football teams where protests have been continual and well publicized, lost the plot by telling players they will be fired if they continue to ‘abuse their privilege’? There is not one reason on earth why anyone should be forced to alter their beliefs, especially those who feel threatened or abused and more especially inside a country that not only preaches pure democracy and a right to free speech to the whole planet, but a country that encourages its populous to be vocal in the form of protest when under threat of unjustifiable racism. Racism is rife in America. You can smell it in the streets, it’s a pollution that has become silent in its poisoning of its population. Racism cannot be tolerated, hatred of anyone, any race, any creed and any color has to be kicked out, but, unfortunately, and in the opinion of this author, it’s just being swept under an already filthy carpet, where, when the dust is uncovered, it becomes a mountain of trash that is becoming ever worse and unstoppable, fueled by a President and government that just turns a blind eye and looks the other way whilst telling us all, quite disingenuously that there is absolutely nothing wrong! Well, not much!

My guitar teacher Tony, remember him from the first article I wrote last week, inspired me to make the lapel pins you see in the image above. The players protesting and following in the footsteps of Kaepernick, have a right to do so. It’s not disrespectful, it’s poignant, it’s their human right, it’s peaceful and most importantly, it’s something they believe in. However, it seems if these protests carry on players will be fired or, and I say this with the utmost respect, the President will have to intervene personally, something not one of us would like to see happen.

With all of this in mind, I have this idea, not only to raise the awareness to a very great cause, but to raise money for charities associated with racism and the profound effect that racism still holds on our society. The #SOLDOUT will soon display the pins pictured above for sale, to make people aware that there is genuine suffering out there, whether it be in the murdering of Jews in Pittsburgh, or the simplicity of daily senseless traffic stops on innocent African Americans, it matters not. We have a right to protest, so by wearing this pin, our protests shall be seen, and by the money we raise, out protests shall be heard.

Keep reading this blog for more updates and check out our Instagram #soldout to get your pin.

If there are any athletes, well known or otherwise and or charities, who would like to be considered as spokes people for this idea, please get in touch. Colin Kaepernick, if you read this please know that I have tried in many different ways to contact you because I believe you should lead this movement, but to date, no response.

Thank you everyone.

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?

Give Me My Money Back- Part 1

downloadObama owes me over a million dollars. I’m not suggesting that he should pay me tomorrow, but I want my money back and I want it sooner rather than later. His ‘dictator’ like behavior towards immigration has left me annoyed, frustrated and out-of-pocket with seemingly no recourse and very little hope of ever being able to recover a single cent of the money I invested to become a LEGAL US citizen.

In 1992 I came to America seeking my fortune. The UK had been good to me, but like millions of others, the USA had an allure that just wouldn’t go away. My cousin, who ended up being the biggest shit that I ever met, was going through a divorce in LA and he suggested we set up a joint venture together. He was a CPA at the time and I was looking for a way to become a US citizen, it seemed like forming a new venture in the USA would not only give him the fresh start he craved, but would also give me the springboard to citizenship of a country I always enjoyed visiting and craved to reside. Like the tens of millions who had walked this path before me, I was informed from day 1 of the process involved in firstly obtaining an H1 work visa, then a green card and then eventually a US passport. This process was laborious, expensive and so overly complicated that it made me sick to my stomach and bored to my brain every time I visited an attorney, paid off an attorney or had to wait to see an attorney. On the subject of attorney’s, I eventually found one that I could trust but in the process of getting to that stage, I went through at least two who ran off with my money and one who had no idea what he was doing. Costly, to say the least.

The first attorney told me to send him a check for $10,000. He was from Lebanon, and had taken up residency in the USA around 1980. He was confident that after receiving my H1 visa, a visa that he applied for on my behalf, then investing X number of dollars in the US corporation I would have no issues getting a green card and then eventually citizenship. Well, $10,000 later, H1 Visa stamped neatly in my passport, he vanished! Took my money and ran. His reasoning was simple. “I got your Visa” he said, “it will cost another $20,000 to get your green card and you must invest $1 million in a US business or I will walk” He walked.

Attorney number 2 took a similar stance, but not before charging me another $4,000 to become the beneficiary of his tame and often limited advice. He was from Russia, and he should have stayed there. I have to tell you all that these two men came highly recommended by both friends and family, most of whom had either utilized their services or had known someone who’d done the same. Who needs friends or family like that?

Some two years had now passed. I’d conned my way into receiving a Social Security number and therefore a Drivers License, but my H1 was running out, along with my bank balance and my patience. Errol H, as we will call him, a South African and attorney number 3 then came along and tried hard to save the day. Errol was blunt, honest and made it clear to me from day 1 that the easiest way to get a green card would be to marry a US citizen! He said this half-joking of course, but underneath his wicked sense of humor I could see that he more than half meant it. He pleaded with me to pay him the same day he did anything remotely connected to my immigration status and it got to the stage where he and my cousin would openly fight over the issue on telephone calls that became outrageously incoherent. You see the business I’d formed in the US with said cousin was paying the legal bills, and that very same business never had any money. (I wonder why?) Every time Errol wanted money, and wanted it that same day, my cousin would say, “where’s the fire drill?” And he was often right. Years later, once everything was resolved and that business no longer existed, I asked Errol why he’d always been such a stickler for quick payment. His response? “I never trusted your cousin, and he was signing the checks!” Well join the club Errol!

Moving on. The H1 ran out and Errol got an extension. I met a woman, a US citizen, she got pregnant, we got married Vegas style and Hallelujah, a green card soon followed. It was my right by law that with a wife and child on the way, I had to get a green card. Errol suggested that to speed up the process we should apply through the US embassy in London where the wait time for an interview was only 6 months. In the US, the wait time at any office was 2 years. I took his advice, paid him another $10,000 and waited. What happened next was fascinating.

 

Cowboys In Suits, Not Jeans

downloadLast night Levi’s, based right here in San Francisco, announced they were laying off over 800 workers, mostly management positions, to save money. When I heard this I was blown away, perhaps shocked would be language more suited to this news story. My immediate thoughts went to those who are now going to join the ranks of our unemployment lines, growing larger and larger every day. My next thought was, “shit, this company must be in big trouble if they fired so many so quickly!”  And after pondering the question of ‘if Levi’s go out of business where will I buy my jeans?’ for about ten seconds, it hit me, and it hit me hard.

You guys just spent $220 million for the naming rights to the new San Francisco football stadium which opens up in about 12 weeks time, so what on earth are you thinking about by firing 800 people??

It made no sense to me. Again, typifying the attitude I have found in the United States by putting football, a stupidly overrated American sport, before human lives. So, 800 families are about to be put through seemingly endless torture and suffering and the 49’rs football team will benefit from these families misfortune? Farcical.

Who makes these decisions? What benefit can Levi’s, and all those other companies who’ve spent a trillion dollars naming breeze block edifices across the country, possibly gain by spending their profits, or perhaps lack of, on signage instead of humanity. The very people who assisted in getting them into a position of being able to afford such signage from the beginning? The world is screwed up when $220 million is spent by those advertising cowboys who wear suits, not jeans. Tell me I’m nuts. Tell me $220 million is worth every penny spent. Tell me I have no appreciation of the ‘real’ world out there, but when you tell me all these things, tell it to those who today, find themselves kicked gloriously to the curbside in favor of bragging rights.

Levi’s you should be ashamed.

 

Blog Complete

New design is complete, hope you like it. Posts will commence in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, please enjoy some pictures that I took in my back yard. I’ll post more later this week. Oh, and if you get a chance, drop me a wee line and let me know what you think of the new color scheme?

Back after my Alaska trip!

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Detroit- Broke City

imagesAlas, no longer can the words from that famous Kiss song be applied. Detroit Rock City. Today, late breaking news, the city of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy!  It’s now Detroit Broke City. This is the largest civil bankruptcy in US history and as I watched the news a few minutes ago, I was dismayed with not only the way it was being reported, quite matter of factly, but also by the scale of the event. This city used to boast a population of over 2 million people, now it has about 700,000. It housed the entire automobile industry of the world, let alone the USA. It was the home to Motown, GM, Ford, Chrysler and many many more iconic brands. Now however, and particularly tonight, Detroit is dead.

It’s amazing to me that something like this can happen in a country where so much wealth is just given away needlessly. Other countries benefit at our expense in the building and often re building of their own, delapedated infrastructure. It’s not just this present government who are to blame, although the more I see and hear of how this current regime is operating, the more dismayed I have become over their inability to live up to their promises. My heart goes out to Detroit tonight, and even though the mayor has assured everyone that nothing will change and that all public services will remain in tact and operating, one can only imagine how long that promise can last? A lady, interviewed on NBC earlier, a retired police officer, stated that her main concern was the possibility that she would lose her pension. I watched in envy, as this 40 something year old lady, who I’m sure devoted 20 odd years to her job serving the Detroit community, had the audacity to suggest that she, along with thousands of others, should in fact deserve a life long pension for that service. And therein lies just part of the issue. I, at 54, haven’t the ability to save for a pension unless I work, so why should she be exempt from seeking further employment to satisfy her will to live in the style she’s accustomed to until she turns 90? There’s such a poor outlook in this country towards health care and pensions, that it beggars belief no one in government has ever put a stop to the foolish way we treat government employees from the day they retire to the day they die. Oh, wait! I forgot, they are government employees, all of them! That’s why! None of them need to work an extra day in their lives because they are taken care of by a life long pensions, that you and I are paying for, but that they as the government implemented! Now I know I am generalizing here, and I realize that not all government workers fall into the entitlement outlined above, but seriously, has anyone ever done the math? I know they have, and yet, we, as a nation are stuck in ‘stupid’, leaving no doubt to any doubters, who are the takers and who are givers.

Detroit, I have visited you on many occasions and I am sorry to say, despite the efforts of Michael Moore, a two-faced fame seeker, in his many visits to the suburb of Flint and to the headquarters of many of the car conglomerates, attempting to get answers for the ‘workers’ who now have no jobs, and to the disgusting behavior of various corrupt Mayors and local authorities who have robbed Peter to pay Paul, you have received tonight what no one believed you deserved, no one other than those who predicted quite categorically all those years ago, that this abuse of power both in and out of the workplace, would destroy your city. A doomsday scenario come true.

So what happens now? Where will the money come from to replenish the city coffers? Why are we sending billions to Iraq and Afghanistan and even India 9to name but a meager few), when Detroit is suffering? All good questions, none of which I am willing to bet, will ever get answered. And, even if we could divert funds from our useless wars, would Detroit be deserving of that replenishment and salvation? I am also concerned that this is just the beginning of a situation which can only snowball out of control as we sit and watch the rest of our major cities crumble and fall foul to the same fate as Detroit. I hear also tonight that Chicago could be next. If that’s true, how long before New York, LA and San Francisco follow suit? How long will it take for this government to realize that the distribution of our wealth is being spread unevenly across a planet that couldn’t care less about us? How long before the rest of this planet, especially the countries we have subsidized for half a century and more, begin to subsidize us?? Only time will tell, but I am sure the answer to that last question will be never. Certainly not in our lifetime.

With so much uncertainty, so much imbalance, especially here in the USA, where the have’s and have not’s are segregated not just by color or race, but by a vast differences in wealth and wealth management, how do we create an environment where corruption greed and miss management of all our assets, whether at a local or federal level, is governed by those who know how to make things work and not by those who are waiting in hope for success? We, the voter have the power, or so I believed, but after the news tonight, I no longer have faith in anything related to government here in the USA. In fact, I don’t know if I ever did.  I have become the cynic I always knew I didn’t want to be, but can you blame me??

Detroit has the Red Wings, The Pistons and the Tigers. Detroit also has the Lions, and with football season just around the corner and Ford stadium charging $10 for a beer, a price vastly inflated by the addition of local government tax and also the huge profits franchise owners feel compelled to make, I give it three weeks, 2 wins and a loss, and everyone will have forgotten how serious tonight’s news was, with their entire focus trained on that next touchdown pass by QB Mathew Stafford, and without a care in the world what their government is doing with the $3 they take from every beer sold. Our priorities are all fucked up, and nothing on earth will seemingly change the way our careless attitudes have ruined a once great city.

Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion.

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At Peace

 

At peace now with the knowledge that a true champion is anointed

Made whole by perseverance and dedication, and then, and then that dream

Pounding hard, night after night inside a body that said, ‘I can do this’

Proclaimed by a nation as the man who actually did

No questions asked, though all now answered, finally and hopefully for good

Laying to rest those ghosts who have haunted his relevance and meaning

Being there, if not in sprit, perhaps in person, for all to admire

Now king of a jungle he seemed to dominate in all but crowning glory

Headed towards eternity with a mantle that can never be erased

Pride, his motivation, his desire, and now, his affirmation

Showing off to all those who were doubters that ignorance rarely triumphs

Atop a perch where folklore shall remain forever the only truth

Yes, at peace, one nation, one man, and of course, that myth, made whole by one victory

 

 

© Alan Zoltie July 7, 13

www.alanzoltie.com

www.electrichaggis.com