Bernie & the Billionaires

In my humble opinion, there have been several major misstatements of facts, posted online by friends. I am sorry to see my friends fooled by what they see online.

Let me see if I can help clear these up. Feel free to politely point out any factual errors. Keep your ‘just opinions’ to yourself.  Or, at least try. <Wink>

I was sent the following link:

http://www.chicksontheright.com/watch-bernie-sanders-fans-find-out-their-event-sponsor-is-supported-by-billionaires/

I can only guess that my friend assumed that this PROVED how untruthful Bernie Sanders is. And what a fool that I am. (And, conversely how clever he is.)

The thing is, I don’t see it that way at all.

I cannot speak for anyone else that likes Bernie. I, David Heath, have absolutely nothing against millionaires, billionaires, and the megarich, as long as they came by their money honestly, and do not work to exclude democracy or any anti-social stuff.

I do have issues with Henry Ford, which to my best understanding, back in the 1930s, backed Hitler, and made huge sums of money selling Germany war materials, even during the second world war. And, I do not think kindly of various robber barons of the past and present. I do not subscribe to the idea that one MUST be a crook to be rich. I do not, categorically, hate the rich at all.

I believe the data that shows that, in perhaps the 1960s, the middle class started being wiped out. I believe that this was not an accidental twist of fate. I believe that the megarich began a conscious effort to buy out our government. With Ronald Reagan and others, the wealthy in America, started paying dramatically less taxes. The large corporations began to pay little or no taxes, and to get huge subsidies, and other handouts. I do not think that it is at all accidental that government leaders who have taken huge sums of money, and that’s just the money we know about, and then these government leaders, crafted laws that just happen to dramatically benefit the people or organizations that gave them the money.

I do not know how you can call it a democracy when a few hundred people have a TREMENDOUS influence on how are our government runs, and just happen to profit mightily from many government decisions.

A friend said that he felt that Bernie Sanders was trying to start a class war. I think if my friend would take a few minutes and look at the data, he would see that the class war started back, even before Reagan, and that the middle class is rapidly becoming extinct, and that the megarich are sucking up the vast majority of any increased profit in the last 40 years.

Clearly Bernie Sanders is trying to STOP the heretofor successful class war, and bring back some semblance of a fair playing field. Because it helps EVERYONE!

But, back to the video, they were able to edit the video to appear to show that several people believe that Bernie is opposed to billionaires. I’ve never heard him say that. He is opposed to our government being stolen.

In the video, the moderator, seems to think that he is dropping a bombshell to say that George Soros backs MoveOn.org. I think he said at one point that George Soros owns MoveOn.org. I find no rational information to that effect. Yes, I know that Fox News claims all sorts of nonsensical things. But they’ve been doing that for a long time. Clearly a lot of people don’t understand that Fox frequently misleads you and at times even lies to you. I suggest you try to cross check and verify anything that they tell you that makes your eyes get big. Actually, please do that for any information that someone tries to shove at you.

MANY billionaires, millionaires, and megarich, are appalled at the present lack of democracy in the United States. The fact that some of them want to help America, which naturally also includes them, should not surprise anyone. According to Wikipedia, which is by no means an infallible source of accurate information, George Soros gave $1.46 million to MoveOn.org but Linda Pritzker of the Hyatt hotel family gave $4 million.

Warren Buffett, at times the richest man in America, has frequently spoken out on how unfair our present income tax is. As I recall he said that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary does. Many wealthy people understand that the golden goose is about to be killed. It is in everyone’s best interest, not just the middle class, for America to become healthy again. Financially and physically.

Here is an excellent TED broadcast, where billionaire Nick Hanaur, tries to explain that raising the minimum wage, making high-quality education more accessible to everyone, making good health care more accessible to everyone, and other Bernie Sanders ideas, are NOT bad for America. They are good for Nick Hanaur and his megarich friends. Here is a short excerpt. Please watch the entire video. It is very well done.

He says in part:
“I know I must sound like some liberal do-gooder. I’m not. I’m not making a moral argument that economic inequality is wrong. What I am arguing is that rising economic inequality is stupid and ultimately self-defeating. Rising inequality doesn’t just increase our risks from pitchforks, but it’s also terrible for business too. So the model for us rich guys should be Henry Ford. When Ford famously introduced the $5 day, which was twice the prevailing wage at the time, he didn’t just increase the productivity of his factories, he converted exploited autoworkers who were poor into a thriving middle class who could now afford to buy the products that they made. Ford intuited what we now know is true, that an economy is best understood as an ecosystem and characterized by the same kinds of feedback loops you find in a natural ecosystem, a feedback loop between customers and businesses. Raising wages increases demand, which increases hiring, which in turn increases wages and demand and profits, and that virtuous cycle of increasing prosperity is precisely what is missing from today’s economic recovery.”

And:

“Programs like a reasonable minimum wage, affordable healthcare, paid sick leave, and the progressive taxation necessary to pay for the important infrastructure necessary for the middle class like education, R and D, these are indispensable tools shrewd capitalists should embrace to drive growth, because no one benefits from it like us.” (the Fat Cats>)

Lets talk kayaks

My Father, John Heath Sr. was a world authority on Inuit (Eskimo) kayaks. In those days only a few people were even aware of the inventors of kayaking and the excellent boats that the ‘REAL kayakers’ used.
 
With the changing economies and fishing and hunting methods, that knowledge was being lost as the old generation died out.
 
My father and several other hard working people got more and more people aware and it finally caught on. Now there are many more people on the bandwagon and actually a small ‘industry.’
 
The best expert that I know of by far is Harvey Golden.
BUT, he is by NO means alone. Maligiaq Johnsen Padilla, Greg Stamer, Eugine Arima, and MANY more are very knowledgeable and VERY active. I do not mean to offend the hundreds and thousands that I do not mention, but I probably have.
 
Take a few minutes and learn about an amazing technology that you knew little about.

We are fine, just busy.

We are doing some repairs to Robn’s boat, in Trinidad. We are well, but much busier that we like. We need to get done and out of Trinidad before the Immigration people get grumpy about us staying too long.

Some local Immigration folks are great and some want to throw you out after 90 or 180 days. The boat yards and contractors WANT us to stay and spend money, but for some reason, some Immigration people get their jollys by being very obnoxious.

Well, I need to get back to work.

BTW
https://www.yahoo.com/tech/how-to-avoid-dodgy-usb-1357449006432310.html

Has an upsetting article about the new USB C technology. Near the end of the article the man ruins his computer by using a defective USB C cable.

When we were in Marmaris, I discovered that no store in town had functioning USB2 5 meter long (15 ft) USB cables. Several stores had them on the shelves, but NONE of them worked. We tested EVERY ONE of them.

Somehow, cutting corners has gotten totally out of hand. Be careful, and good luck.

Dave & Robn

 

Happy Holidays

Bet you can’t guess what I got for Christmas! Somehow, Christmas became Spring (Winter?) Cleaning Day for me. I like to do some cleaning project that is normally at the bottom of the to do list – if it ever even gets there! I’m surprised at the degree of satisfaction that I get from it – and that it doesn’t carry over into every day cleaning activities. In any case, this Christmas, I tackled my bilge. Dragged the hose – complete with high water pressure – down below and pressure washed the crack between water tanks and bilges where dirt accumulates and then the limber hole/pipe under the mast support that allows water to migrate aft towards the bilge pumps. Ended up replacing the limber chain (rope) and clearing a plugged limber hole. Given how hard it was to access the plug it was quite a job.

Dave’s willing assistance with this project was my Christmas Present, more treasured than any trinket or other material object could ever be.

We are in the midst of a multitude of jobs, in a race to see if we can ready Heidi for a transatlantic sail. I had a survey done on her and additional problems ended up having to be added to the list. So time will tell what the future brings, but in the meantime I am once again happily puttering away on my list.

Hope the Spirit of Christmas will last longer than the Holidays – we sure need more peace and friendship.

Wishing you Happy Holidays and All the Best,

Robn and Dave

Dave arrived

Dave arrived, safe, but exhausted at Robn’s boat, Heidi in Trinidad at about 230 AM Friday. More info some day, but he (I) immediately went to bed for virtually the next 36 hours. I am feeling MUCH better, but it is likely that I will be getting even more sleep often in the next few days.

I will try hard to get much better connections on my flights in the future. Price is not the ONLY factor. Surviving is also good.

Robn and Heidi are great and glad to see me.

Being out of touch has its advantages. I did not hear about many dumb things happening in the World. Can’t you guys keep things under control?

Dave & Robn

Robn Returns to Trinidad

(Note from Robn, written Friday, 6 Nov.)

I set a new record for being away from Heidi – only 4 months after the previous record of almost 4 months away while I was in Turkey and Germany with Dave. This time it was almost 5 months in the USA, visiting friends and family (his and mine), making purchases, making tools, sorting stuff from and for storage, getting to know new computers and smart phones, improving health, changing my address, replacing passport and driver’s license, voting, along with a bit of hiking and kayaking, and assorted activities like my going to see Bernie Sanders and later Dead and Company (the rock band). Far too much to cram into the 2 months originally guessed at.

Eventually the list got short enough that I started the job of figuring out how to get as much as possible to our boats. Quite a job! What should go to Heidi, in Trinidad, what should go to Alegría in Turkey, what should go into storage, and what to do with the rest. How to distribute the stuff, also, so that the weight came in at 49.5 lbs for each checked bag AND stuff like “cannot afford to lose” plus not allowed to check (like lithium batteries) are in carry-on AND all those things not allowed in carry on are in checked bags. I think I must have repacked stuff a dozen times or more! Luckily this was all a giant puzzle of the kind I enjoy.

As of now, there is only one item that we have lost track of the whereabouts of, and I reckon it will turn up somewhere. (Update 10 Nov. Dave just found it. It was in his backpack all along. Oops.)

Dave and I finally left Seattle together and flew to upstate NY to visit my brother, Adrian, and his wife Kate. Then Dave flew on to Turkey to check on his boat and drop off the purchases for Alegría . I stayed a couple more days and attended my first ever rock concert by Dead and Company. I had been concerned about the volume since I don’t care for high decibels, but it was manageable – not as loud as Trinidad Carnival. I really enjoyed the solo drums.

Then Adrian and Kate dropped me off in Lincoln, MA (where I grew up) to visit another friend and I had a wonderful visit with her for almost a week. Nothing (almost) to do with boats and parts shopping and errands. It is always great to just visit and I am so glad that I got to see so many of you. And sorry to not have seen everyone, but it was a VERY busy 5 months.

Finally it was time to return to Heidi. For the first time that I can remember, I checked in and dropped off my bags without anyone asking for proof of on-going transportation – normally required whenever you have a one way international ticket. I paid 80$ to get to the airport and another 300 TT to get from POS (the airport) to my boat – 47$US. The air fare cost 145$(!) only a tad more. I might have been able to reduce the ground transportation a little bit but at the cost of having to deal with 150 lbs of luggage – which could risk messing up my back and hips. They are working better than they have in years, due to a wonderful massage therapy called SRT, that Mike & Susan introduced us to. http://structuralrelieftherapy.com/class/bio

For some reason, I find the hassles of getting through customs and immigration to be quite interesting and nearly always make for stories to add to my collection. This time was no exception. Dave likes to take supplements but is picky about the brand and not interested in just grabbing something off the shelf, so I had a year’s worth of supplement pills in my luggage for him. And that is a LOT! We also do a fair amount of epoxy work which requires precise measurements in varying quantities. Syringes (without needles) make excellent measuring and dispensing tools. They and disposable gloves are easy to come by and we wouldn’t normally be lugging them around, but there were a lot of good ones in storage and so they were packed up and brought to the boat.

When I unpacked, I found, again, a TSA notice of inspection. And a bit of a minor mess. There was a little film canister with melatonin in it that got smushed open or improperly closed and some of the pills had powdered and dusted the contents of the suitcase.

On seeing that, and taking another look at the contents from a fresh perspective, I can just imagine those TSA guys thinking they had hit the jackpot! Pill bottles galore, plus syringes galore, plus two bags of disposable gloves – maybe even the tools adding to their suspicions. I’ll bet they were very thorough with their tests and disappointed by the results. I didn’t check to see if they had broken any seals on the vitamin bottles. Sure glad there were no false positives!

On the plane I had to fill out the custom’s declaration form and despite years of travel I never know what to put down. There were 6 or so lines on the form, and I had more like 50 plus items if I were to itemize everything. I was glad that they handed the forms out early and that I had 3 seats in the last row all to myself so that I could dig out my paperwork and figure out how to summarize it all. I suspect that a lot of people just walk on through without bothering to declare stuff, but I’m just not comfortable doing that. I summarized the stuff into categories of tools, boat parts, and neoprene (wet suit and material). Wrote down an approximation of the value of each category, not knowing what the exchange rate is currently. Left it unsigned pending a conversation with the custom’s agent. Also left out the supplements, not knowing whether they were supposed to be listed – until advised.

So I went to the “something to declare” line which only had one other person already being served. Certainly cut down the time in line. The agent looked at my boat papers and asked some questions – like “how many bottles of supplements?”
“Geez, I didn’t count them. Lots.”
“Twenty?”
“More.”
“What sort of boat parts?”
“Well, like the neoprene for sealing the mast base . . “
“Do you know about “Yacht in Transit” Rules?”
“Of course.”
“You’re supposed to have all the boat stuff in a separate box and leave it here until you’ve done the paperwork in Chaguaramas,” he said.

Well, no, I hadn’t come across the idea of leaving it behind before, although I didn’t say anything to that effect. That idea sure didn’t appeal since returning to the airport is very inconvenient – to say the least.

I told him it was all scattered and mixed up because the TSA requires the lithium batteries to be in the cabin and the tools to be in the checked luggage, and there are weight issues, and padding issues, and, and I really didn’t want to have to sort it all out.

He interrupted me with “How much value altogether?”
“Not counting the supplements, about 500 US dollars.”
I still didn’t know whether supplements were subject to duty or could be considered boat stuff.
He said, “Go. No charge. Consider it a Christmas present.”

So I signed the paper and was cleared. Whew!

Many boaters have a very low opinion of some of the Customs officials in any country. They accuse them of unnecessary hassling in order to get you to bribe them.

I am certainly glad that this one data point was a very nice man, just doing his job. Even without ‘unnecessary hassling,’ bringing things into a country for a boat can be a LOT worse.

They can hold your luggage, while you have to travel all over creation, getting stamps and forms and who knows what. And, I arrived at 9:10PM on Thursday, 5 Nov. Can you spell ‘Overtime’? Imagine if I had to go wake up half a dozen officials to ‘get stamps and forms and who knows what?’ Generally, going directly to Chaguaramas Customs IS the protocol regardless of the hour, but in the past it was with parts in hand (although I found the place locked up one time.) If the stuff is left at the airport, it might well have been possible to deal with it in the morning. Any protocol is fine by me, it is the inconsistency that bothers me. Despite rules of thumb, one can never be sure of what will happen.

Yes, I was quite pleased.

My taxi driver helped get everything down below into Heidi’s cabin and I started to settle in. Almost everything about Heidi looked surprisingly clean. Less damage to the varnish this time from the air conditioner. I’m pleased. Unpacked everything and put away everything that I had a place for. Lots of stuff still needs to be assigned a place, however, which is always a challenge since all the places are already in use!

Looked to see if any of my Trinidad sim cards were still active. Nope.

Finally got to bed about 2:15 AM according to my cell phone, but I’m not at all sure which time zone that was. I had flown from Boston, to Houston, to Trinidad. When did it last get reset? I had no access to the internet that night, but it might have picked up a WiFi signal somewhere on its own and updated it. My trip had started at 5AM and I had been up until midnight getting ready. But I wasn’t really tired, having been able to nap on those three seats during the flight, and I actually thought that I might have trouble sleeping. I didn’t. I fell asleep almost immediately which I rarely do and four hours later I was wide awake and refreshed. But it was barely dawn so I managed to go back to sleep.

Come morning I gathered my papers and my sim cards and devices, pumped up the flat bicycle tires, and biked over to Crew’s Inn. Immigration first. I’d already been through immigration at the airport but they only gave me 2 days which is common. No one has been able to figure out why sometimes they give you 90 days and sometimes only 2. There is that inconsistency again. So Friday I got the second stamp in my brand new passport and I’m now good till Feb 4th. I stuck my head into Customs to ask if I needed to check in with them and they said no. So that all went pretty darn smoothly. Thank you, Universe!

Getting my sim cards back up and running took a dozen trips back and forth between the bMobile store and the place 2 doors down that sells the top ups. Even the store clerks got confused about the options so that made me feel better. Maybe I could handle one set of ridiculous rules and package options but since every few months a new country means a totally different set of options and codes, I do get confused.

Tomorrow I need to go to the market and stock up my empty larder. Today I lived on almonds and raisins that I brought with me and a couple of bananas that I bought today. Yesterday it was fruit salad and yogurt for breakfast, followed by nuts and raisins. A bit redundant but plenty filling enough and simple.

Hope all is well with you and would love to hear what’s up – totally boring stuff as well as highlights. The boring stuff IS part of the stuff of life and helps join everything else together.

Cheers, Robn

Credit card risks

In America, fuel prices vary a LOT from petrol station to station. There is an app for cell phones or a website, that tells you the exact location of the best prices near you, or near a location of your choosing.

I used it a lot, and here is a credit card safety article that would be useful anywhere in the World.

Enjoy.

Dave & Robn

https://blog.gasbuddy.com/posts/Avoid-Credit-Card-Skimmers-at-the-Pump/1715-628477-3367.aspx