Apparently one can never have too much money.
According to Forbes most recent list of billionaires, which came out in March of 2019, the richest person in the entire world is my Pacific Northwest neighbor, Jeff Bezos. Yeah, that guy. The CEO of Amazon.
At the time, his net worth was $131 billion dollars. Granted, he’s in the midst of a divorce, and I’m sure that won’t be pretty, but even so, with that kind of money he could retire today and live quite comfortably for at least 100 lifetimes.
And yet, that guy just threw 1.5 million dollars at the elections for Seattle City Council, in the hopes of flipping the progressive majority. Why? Because the city and its council thinks that maybe Amazon should pony up its fair share of taxes for once.
Well, Bezos’ scheme backfired. Only 2 of the 7 candidates he supported actually won, and one of those was an incumbent. The people have spoken.
But a million dollars for Bezos is like a penny to you or me. He isn’t going to give up or go away. Because, apparently, one can never have too much money.
I find this supremely pathetic. That man could most likely solve the homeless crisis in Seattle with the interest he earns on his personal savings account in one month. But has he done that? No. He’s too busy trying to avoid taxes that he can well afford. He drives past people in tents every single solitary day, and he’d much rather focus on the amount of taxes he can avoid. Let them eat cake.
How much money does it take before you can feel free of petty BS and actually turn your attention to paying it forward? What does it take for someone to feel compassion for the very people who have generated all that money for you? Apparently, it’s more than $131 billion dollars.
There’s something wrong with a system that supports such greed and corruption. Henny Penny, the sky is falling. And rest assured it’s not going to land on Bezos.
Yup. My book is for sale on Amazon. Awkward. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5
How radically one’s priorities shift over time.
Even as I write this, I’m listening to the impeachment hearings. I’ve borne witness to live testimony at every opportunity. I’m finding it riveting.
I’m really impressed with some of the dedicated public servants I’ve had the opportunity to hear. There really are bureaucrats out there who are well-meaning and full of integrity. That makes me feel as though our country may be able to recover from all this divisiveness and corruption. Someday.
Unfortunately, these testimonies have also shined a light on some of the cockroaches in our government. Those who are choosing not to testify are not participating in the process of revealing truth and clarifying the situation. Justice is not the end goal for these people. Their integrity will forever be in question, as far as I’m concerned. Clearly, they have something to hide.
Other cockroaches include those who are trying to stir up drama by using inflammatory phrases in the hopes that they’ll make good sound bites. Comparing this situation to a “drug deal” or an “inquisition” is not helpful, nor is it even remotely accurate. Implying that the closed-door depositions are somehow out of order is absurd. In all types of hearings, depositions are behind closed doors. The only time one sees a deposition is in the movies. Also, attempting to out the whistleblower is an effort to find a scapegoat to deflect attention from the subject of the impeachment.
But worst of all, without a doubt, are the tweets and the bullies who are attempting to intimidate witnesses. It makes this country look like a banana republic. It makes us look like thugs. And it makes me ashamed.
But even as I listen to these hearings, I remember the 8 year old me during the Watergate scandal. Little me threw more than one tantrum because the hearings pre-empted all her children’s programming. And it seemed to go on for an eternity. She was sooooooooo bored! She was furious at her mother for not being able to tell “someone” to restore decent television to the land.
What a difference maturity and life experience make. How radically one’s priorities shift over time. And thank goodness for Netflix.
Gerrymandering, or the deliberate manipulation of the shape of voter districts to ensure a particular political outcome, is one of the most common forms of corruption in the United States. This crime is perpetrated against the American people by both Republicans and Democrats. We all know it. It has to stop.
Here’s why it hasn’t. In every state in the union, either the Democrats or the Republicans are in power. And the party in power just loves Gerrymandering, because it’s a way for them to remain in power. The citizens of this country need to take that power back.
The people in the great state of North Carolina have been given a wake-up call. Their gerrymandered districts were deemed unconstitutional by a lower court. Unfortunately, it just got overturned by the supreme court. (Bias, anyone?) They need to make changes.
But they are hardly the only state with insanely shaped voting districts. Check out this district in Florida. It even stretches a tentacle right down the center of the St. Johns River, without touching dry land for miles, in order to exclude some people and include others. It helped an extremely corrupt Corrine Brown remain in the US House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017. She is now a convicted felon. Finally.
Here’s what has to happen: We need to create a law that requires all districts to be in the shape of squares or rectangles. They should be required to have only four 90 degree angles, with one exception: Allowances should be made for the uneven borders between states.
This would still allow for some manipulation. I suspect we’d see radical differences in square sizes, and some strangely long and skinny rectangles. But even so, the power to predict outcomes will be much more limited.
The thing is, until all the people, on both sides of the political spectrum, get together and agree on this one issue, there will be no justice for any of us. We need an organization to take this on as a pet project, and inform the people that they are being manipulated. It’s time to take back control so that our politicians represent the will of the people.
Let’s hear it for 90 degree angles!
Not a day goes by when there isn’t some outrageous story about a corrupt politician. I’m relieved that most of us are still shocked by this, but I can feel the cynicism growing all around me like kudzu on an abandoned Southern house. I rue the day when we all become so used to it that it doesn’t even raise any eyebrows. That’s what they’re working toward. That’s what they’re hoping for. That’s why we can never allow ourselves to look away.
I have personal experience with this outrageous lack of ethics. For me the poster child for a slimy politician is this man: Andy Johnson of Jacksonville, Florida.
Most of you won’t have heard of him. He’s rapidly sinking into obscurity. In the 80’s, though, he was a member of the Florida legislature. (If you want to see his smug face back in those days, go here.) It tells you much about his effectiveness as a politician that he was eventually defeated by Corrine Brown, an even bigger embarrassment to the Democratic Party.
I had the misfortune of crossing paths with this distasteful man long after his political career had taken its nosedive. For many years he was the host of a progressive talk show in Jacksonville Florida, and my boyfriend at the time worked for him, often without pay. (Had I known that at the time, I wouldn’t have been stupid enough to do business with the man, but I could only work with the information I was given.)
I’ve written time and time again about how this man stole $3,500.00 from me and refuses to pay it back. That’s why he has his very own category on my blog. Suffice it to say, I took him to court and won. I also have a lien on his house, for all the good it will do me. (If you’re interested, it’s Duval County, Florida, case number 16-2010-SC-000516.) The interest that has accrued would make this lien worth buying from me, if you are so inclined. That’s probably the only way I’ll ever see that money again, because I’m not cut out to be a debt collector.
I’ll never stop telling the truth about what Andy Johnson has done. I have the truth on my side, at least. He’ll never have that. You wear the chains you forge in life, Andy.
I guess my point is that the political corruption we are seeing today is nothing new. The difference is, those of us who have been wronged have a lot more forums in which to speak out about these offenses. The cockroaches no longer have the luxury of the dark. That, at least, is a step in the right direction. I hope someday these roaches will be squashed by justice.
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I used to work with a woman who had never voted, had no intentions of ever doing so, and was quite proud of that fact. She hated this country and everything it stands for, and did not want to participate in it in any way. She dreamed of moving to the Australian outback, where she felt her family would be left alone. (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that voting is compulsory in Australia.)
But I have to say that whenever an election would roll around, I couldn’t stand to be in that woman’s presence. It took everything in me not to try to slap some sense into her. The very palm of my hand would ache to do so.
Yes, politics in this country (probably in all countries) is corrupt, and our elected representatives seem to have no desire to represent us. Yes, it’s annoying to have to choose the lesser of two evils rather than the best person for a job. Yes, it’s hard to sift through all the lies to figure out what is the best choice.
As much as I love Russell Brand and his activism, he has become the poster child for a movement that encourages people not to vote as a form of protest because of all of the above. Brand is an extremely intelligent guy, but on this one subject he’s being idiotic. Yes, it’s a broken system, but by not participating in it, you’re not going to make it go away, and you’re not going to fix it. You’re simply giving your power to others.
Here are a few reasons why I vote:
If you do not vote, as far as I’m concerned, you forfeit the right to complain, because you have made no effort to even try to be part of the solution. And believe me, I am as willing to complain as the next person.
If you don’t vote, the majority opinion is not properly reflected, and that causes policies to be enacted that most of us really don’t desire.
The act of voting is the act of reaffirming your democratic freedom, a right which Americans have been fighting and dying for since the Revolutionary War.
People still can’t vote in Brunei or the United Arab Emirates, and women can’t vote in Saudi Arabia. Elections in North Korea are only for show. China is not a democracy, and they are currently trying to roll back the rights of the Taiwanese. As long as there is even one person in this world who wants to vote and can’t, how can I choose to not take advantage of this privilege?
One of the last things my sister did before she died was take her son to vote in his first presidential election. She knew it was an important lesson to teach him. It was important enough to focus on even though she was dying, so your manicure can wait.
But most of all, I am a woman. Women did not get the vote in the US until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. It took 70 years of struggle to make that happen. Women died for it, went to jail for it, and had tubes rammed down their throats and were force fed when they went on hunger strikes for it. After all of that, what right do I have NOT to vote?
So if you’re not voting, you might want to tell me that from a safe distance. I take this very seriously.
See, to me that’s a reason to use your celebrity to get MORE people involved. Sigh.
[Image credit: openyoureyesnews.com]