THINK OUTSIDE THE BALLOT BOX

April 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

By Lynn Ashby                                             25 April 2016

 

To: All Patriotic Texans

From: Another Patriotic Texan

Subject: Voter Fraud

Fellow God-fearing, gun-toting, red, white and blue (mostly white) Texans, I call on you once again, just as you prevented a military takeover of Texas by Jade Helm 15, to fight another sneak attack on our life, liberties and pursuit of hippies. This time those um-American slime balls are trying to wrestle away our Constitutional right to elect people who tell us what we want to hear. Those varmints want to vote illegally. That’s right, they are attempting to win elections by putting into office crooks, cheaters and those state officials who are not yet under indictment.

But first let me give you some background since most of you don’t read those left-wing newspapers, or anything else, for that matter. According to the Austin American-Statesman (speaking of left-wing) our Kenyan President, Barack Ali Hussien Mohammed Obama, recently visited Austin to speak to the South by Southwest Interactive conference. There he said that the U.S. is the world’s only advanced democracy that “makes it harder for people to vote.’’

This is a veiled reference to voter registration hurdles in dozens of states, including Texas, by forcing voters to present a photo ID before casting a ballot. To add insult to inhalants, he said, “The folks who are currently governing the good state of Texas aren’t interested in having more people participate.”

Well, our great governor, Greg Abbott, quickly replied (three days later) that our voting requirements were necessary because: “The fact is voter fraud is rampant — and in Texas, unlike some other states and unlike some other leaders, we are committed to cracking down on voter fraud.” Is it really “rampant?” Absolutely, by the millions, but let’s look at the record. First is PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact-checking organization which investigates pols’ more controversial statements to see if they are true. It’s a gold mine because our pols, from both parties, are truth challenged. In this case. PolitiFact determined that, according to the Texas attorney general’s records, 18 instances of voter fraud have been confirmed in Texas since 2002.

Then we have a student group at Arizona State University’s journalism school which compiled a nationwide database that showed in Texas there were 104 cases of alleged election fraud since 2000. The investigative journalists determined that 37 of the 104 Texas allegations were made against voters, but a whopping 15 had resulted in a guilty plea or conviction. An August 2014 analysis made by a Rutgers University political scientist professor, Lorraine Minnite, found three – yes, THREE! — credible allegations of fraud in Texas elections since 2000. We must put these horrifying numbers in perspective: From 2000 to 2014, per the Texas Secretary of State’s online record, about 72 million ballots were cast in Texas, and that’s not even counting municipal and other local-only elections. My fellow patriots, 18 or even as many as 104 votes out of 72 million could easily swing our Legislative or Congressional seats into the commie community.

Charges of an abundance of voter fraud have been made only by Republicans, but the Dems can be just as wrong in the other direction. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Dem from Dallas, wrote in an opinion column published Aug. 8, 2013, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:“Studies have shown that voter fraud is non-existent in Texas.” She later explained she should have written “virtually non-existent.”

At this point we must note that Texans can vote by mail or in person, and our voter ID law, the very strictest in the nation, is only aimed at fraud in person. I mean, you don’t have to present a photo ID to the postal carrier when you mail in your ballot. So here we have a ticking time bomb. Just how prevalent is this treasonous act? Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., went on ABC’s This Week on Aug. 9 and said: “Take Texas for example, where Lyndon Johnson’s obviously from, they passed these voter ID laws. In the decade before it, 10 years, they only prosecute two people for in-person voter ID, only two people. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning in Texas than to find any kind of voter fraud.”

According to PolitiFact, in 2014, the National Weather Service said the odds of being struck by lightning are1 in 960,000. Texas had the second-highest number of lightning-related fatalities from 1959 to 2013, behind only Florida. But that’s mostly because Texas is so big, both in terms of area and population; once you adjust the death rate, Texas actually ranks 33rd. The NWS said that the probability of being struck by lightning in Texas is right around 1 in 1.35 million. So how does this 1 in 1.35 million chance compare to the probability of finding voter fraud? OK, let’s do the math: Four cases of fraud for 72 million votes makes the chance of voter fraud 1 in 18 million. So you really are more likely to be struck by lightning in Texas than turn up any case of voter fraud. But can we trust figures from some Yankee senator, or the stats from a federal government that tells us we can keep our doctors? I say the number of Texans being struck by lightning is far more, or maybe less.

How rampant is voter fraud? In 2015, Francisco “Frankie” Garcia, Rebecca Gonzalez, Diana Balderas Castaneda and Guadalupe Escamilla were convicted of trying to buy votes in a Donna school board race with cocaine, cash, beer and cigarettes. It’s a small step from the Donna school board race to Congress or the White House. Some lefty pinkos say Texas’ strict voter laws are a transparent attempt to screen out minorities who would probably vote Democratic. I reply: So? Now our course of action is clear. No one gets to vote in Texas without a photo ID, a note from their doctor that they are heathy enough to cast ballots and they must pass a urine test for coke.

Ashby votes at ashby2@comcast.net

 

Dining out for life

Jessica Rossman; Michael Pearce; Photo by Greg KolanowskiAIDS FOUNDATION HOUSTON’S ANNUAL “DINING OUT FOR LIFE”
EVENT IS LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY

More than 40 Houston-area restaurants (and counting) will participate in the annual fundraising event, presented by Gillman Subaru

HOUSTON, TEXAS — For one day in April—Thursday, April 28, 2016—Houston-area restaurants are donating a percentage of sales to AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) through their participation in the annual nationwide event, Dining Out for Life. Gillman Subaru is the presenting sponsor for this year’s event, which is hosted by chair Michael Pearce and honorary chair Jessica Rossman.

Guests interested in supporting AIDS Foundation Houston can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner throughout the day at one of more than 40 participating restaurants (and counting). A portion of the proceeds support AFH’s programs and services that help thousands of Houstonians living with HIV/AIDS.

“Year after year, we are impressed by the outpouring of support by restaurants and diners alike,” said Kelly Young, Chief Executive Officer of AIDS Foundation Houston. “We can end HIV/AIDS within our lifetime, and Dining Out for Life helps raise funds and awareness that gets us closer to that goal. All you have to do is go out to eat.”

In 1991, an ActionAIDS volunteer in Philadelphia created Dining Out for Life. Now the event is produced in 60 cities throughout the United States and Canada, with more than 3,000 restaurants donating a portion of their proceeds from this one special day of dining. AIDS Foundation Houston has participated in the event since the inaugural year, raising thousands of dollars in support thanks to a mandate that ensures funds raised locally stay local.

The 2016 participating restaurants offer something for everyone. As of April 14, 2016, participating restaurants are:

360 at Houston City Club
Allen’s Landing at The Houston Club
Araya Artisan Chocolate — River Oaks
Araya Artisan Chocolate — Uptown Park
B & B Butchers and Restaurant
Baby Barnaby’s
Barnaby’s – Downtown
Barnaby’s – Heights
Barnaby’s Cafe ­­­­– Midtown
Barnaby’s Cafe – Museum District
Barnaby’s Cafe – Original
Barnaby’s Cafe – River Oaks
Barnaby’s Cafe – Woodway
Bay Oaks Country Club
Canopy
Charivari Restaurant
The Durham House
El Tiempo on Montrose
El Tiempo Cantina on Westheimer
El Tiempo on Navigation
EQ Heights Coffee and Social House
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse – River Oaks
Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace
Hearthstone Country Club
The Island Grille at The Clubs of Kingwood
Last Concert Cafe
Latin Bites
Magnolia at The Houston Club
Mitchell’s 74 at Tournament Course at The Woodlands, CLUBCORP
Niko Nikos – Montrose
The Point Bar and Grille at the Club at Falcon Point
Prohibition Supper Club & Bar
Quattro Restaurant
Red Ox Bar & Grill
Reef
Shade
Songkran Thai Kitchen – Uptown Park
South Shore Harbour Country Club Grille
Tacos A Go Go — Heights
Tacos A Go Go — Midtown
Tila’s
Tony Mandola’s Gulf Coast Kitchen
Zelko Bistro

For more information and the most current roster of restaurants, please visit www.AIDSHelp.org/DiningOutforLife.
# # #

 

Araya Artisan Chocolate_Macarons

Niko Niko's_Hercules

IIDA Houston City Center’s Product Runway

Product Runway is an avant-garde couture fashion design competition with a twist. IIDA Houston City Center’s Product Runway, influenced by the concept of the hit realty TV show Project Runway, is one of a handful of fashion shows of its kind in the country. Product Runway puts teams of interior design and architecture professionals and interior design students in a fashion design competition by creating handmade garments out of standard architectural finish materials such as glass, tile, carpet and wood. Product Runway promises to showcase eye-popping creations during a runway performance by each team on nearly 150 ft. of runway at Revention Music Center!

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 4.10.28 PM

Each of the 20 competing teams has been assigned one hard material and one soft material, which must collectively make up 80% of their final garment. With this year’s theme: Avant Art, each team will be assigned a specific art movement with a correlating artist, as well as a piece of work from their artist that shows a true representation of that particular movement. The majority of a completed garment (approx. 60%) must be made of their hard and soft goods that are as close to the team’s assigned art movement and artist. Teams are encouraged to work with their garment label representatives to select goods that will best reflect their particular art movement. The assigned artist and image should serve as an abstract design inspiration. Within the portfolio submissions, each team will be asked to describe how their garment’s design relates to or interprets their assigned art movement and artist. Final entries, also modeled by a member of the design team, must be designed and constructed completely by the team.

The 8th Annual Product Runway Fashion Show is scheduled for Friday, April 22nd at 8 p.m. at Revention Music Center. Funds raised by the evening of inspired designs benefit the Houston Furniture Bank, a local non-profit that focuses on making houses into homes by providing furniture for families in need via 70 agencies in surrounding counties.

THEY’VE GOT OUR NUMBER

April 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

 

By Lynn Ashby                                                                        18 April 2016

THEY’VE GOT OUR NUMBER

THE REFRIGERATOR – A warm spring afternoon, time for a beer. I was given a six-pack of some new product made by Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. The can is bronze colors, (and says it’s “copper ale”) and the name is 1836. Interesting. Here are some words on the side: “If you have to ask what 1836 stands for, please put down this beer and leave our country.” That’s not very nice, but at least they said “please.” It is yet another reminder that Texas is awash with newcomers who are changing Texas, Texans, our very culture and, which speaks volumes, the name of our soccer team.

First, some stats I stole from others. They call it “plagiarism,” I call it “research.” As we know by bumper stickers and license plates, newcomers are arriving from everywhere, many from the other 49 states, lots from Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and all over the world. One example: almost a quarter of the residents in Harris County were born in foreign lands. OK, two examples: Houston has 84 foreign consulates, third most in the U.S. This surge of arrivals is easily seen when a Houston team plays a visiting team, college or pro. You will see as many flags, T-shirts and cheers for the Dodgers, Sooners, Dolphins or Bears (Chicago) as you will see for the local team

Houston, Austin-San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth added more people last year than any other state in the country, growing by more than 400,000 residents. It is as though every man, woman and child in Minneapolis moved here in that 12-month period, and sometimes I think they have. Austin is the fastest growing big city in the country, and according to new U.S. Census Bureau data, the five-county Austin region now has almost 2 million people. But when it comes to metropolitan areas, greater Houston is Number One, adding more people than any region in the country. Harris County alone added nearly 90,500 residents. Combined, the greater Houston metropolitan area, which includes Houston, The Woodlands and Sugar Land, grew by about 160,000 people between July 2014 and July 2015. Even in a year when the area was hit with the oil bust, the fracking finale and when U-haul companies report a greater exodus of rentals than in-bound, the population gain was still bigger than the two previous years.

All of these folks may change, acclimate, assimilate, accommodate, or die off. A neighbor moved here from Pittsburg and remained an avid Steelers fan the rest of his life. His kids, one a Longhorn, the other an Aggie, aren’t. But our new Texans have changed us, too. For years there were big parades in Houston on April 21 (that’s the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, pilgrim). If it weren’t for the Sons of the Republic of Texas firing a few shots in the air to celebrate, the day would go unnoticed. Fortunately, the Texas Aggies mark the date with their Muster. At noon on March 2, Texas Independence Day. UT students would drop a huge Lone Star Flag down the Tower, the band would play our national anthem, “The Eyes of Texas,” and afternoon classes would be forgotten. I don’t think they do that anymore.

We require that our young people take Texas history, and daily recite the Texas Pledge of Allegiance, in English I assume. I once got an angry letter from a mother who had just moved here, and objected to her children saying the pledge. Then I got another letter from a newly arrived mother who objected to a column I wrote about requiring my children to say Sir and M’am to their elders, be they coachmen, butlers or food-tasters. She wrote, “I will ask them to do so only after I have earned their respect.” (At this point I will note that my own mother sent her three sons off to the U.S. Marine Corps – we were seeking an easier and less disciplined life.)

Most native Texans would not haul statues of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee off a college campus to be dumped elsewhere. The Houston ISD is in the midst of changing the names of several schools, including John H. Reagan: He was the postmaster of the Confederacy. What did he do wrong, mail pipe bombs to Grant? One might think that the massive arrivals from such liberal places as California and New York would nudge Texas to the left. Oddly enough, we now have the most conservative state and federal elected officials since they authorized Ku Klux Klan Day at the State Fair of Texas in 1923. But when did anyone greet you with “Howdy,” and when was the last time you heard “Dixie”? On the other hand, Texas has been blessed by new ideas, habits and food, like good delis, better pizza and the best Tex-Mex on earth, Remember that Houston was developed by two brothers from New York, which explains our original city slogan, “Fugetaboutit!” Of course, there are those missionaries to the savages who like to tell us how things are better Up North. They are easily dismissed with that old Texas term, “Git a rope.”

Finally, earlier we mentioned the ale, 1836, and its warning label. That year, 1836, was the original title of Houston’s brand new pro soccer team (those teams have odd names). In our case it was a fitting title, that being the year of the founding of both the Republic of Texas and the city of Houston. Big and unexpected problem: Many, if not a majority, of new fans would be newly arrived Hispanics. To them 1836 was also the year of the Alamo, San Jacinto and Mexico’s defeat. The new Houston futbal team was renamed the Dynamo, a totally meaningless and useless title. So much for assimilation.

Here I am, contemplating the true meaning of 1836. It mean Texas, ever changing, welcoming the new while keeping the good stuff, M’am.

 

Ashby is changing at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Antonio’s JW Marriott Water Park

April 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

 

Popular River Bluff Water Experience Splashes in at Nine Acres

 

SAN ANTONIO – March 28, 2016 – JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa will debut its $16 million expansion to both its world class River Bluff Water Experience and a new additional meeting / convention space in late March 2016. The five-month project adds 3 acres to the water park which includes a new 13,000-square-foot multiuse pavilion area for additional indoor and outdoor function space, an additional 130-foot long beach-entry pool, 70 by 35 foot sand play area, whirlpool spa, private cabanas, two thrilling body slides, 230 additional lounge chairs and artificial turf lawn space. Guests will be treated to an elevated leisure and group experience with added recreation activities, more space in the already impressive 9-acre water park and added amenities.

 

The new River Bend Pavilion offers pre-function and event space for group meetings, golf tournament banquets, social events, weddings, concerts and more with 13,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor customizable venues including a 4,200-square-foot covered deck and 5,000-square-foot pavilion. The expansive 18,000-square-foot event lawn includes a freestanding 700-square-foot covered outdoor stage perfect for awards ceremonies, live music and an array of special events as well as an impressive grill to service events and activities of all sizes. The River Bend Pavilion and expanded celebration areas rest beautifully into the existing topography and enhance the opportunities for open-air entertainment receptions. The additional indoor and outdoor venues will allow groups to reserve private spaces while also enjoying the surrounding Texas-sized outdoor pools and waterslides. Adjacent to TPC San Antonio, the newly developed area is ready to host team-building events, indoor and outdoor awards dinners, wedding, corporate and other private receptions.

Event capabilities in the River Bend Pavilion include:

  • Rounds: 200 attendees
  • Theater: 400 attendees
  • Schoolroom: 200 attendees
  • Schoolroom and rounds (meet/eat): 120 attendees
  • Lawn and pavilion reception: 1,000 attendees

Amid 600-acres of picturesque rolling oak-covered hills and currently offering the largest hotel customizable convention, meeting and event space in the Texas Hill Country, the new 13,000-square-foot stand-alone ballroom will bring the resort’s total event space to 288,000-square- feet. The ballroom and exceptional event lawn provides unparalleled venues for any size or type of meeting or group gathering.  Designed to benefit from San Antonio’s average of 300 days of sunshine a year, the year-round green turf lawn will be adjacent to the new ballroom to offer a scenic outdoor event space situated in harmony with the unobstructed views of the surrounding pristine Hill Country terrain. The River Bend Pavilion and event lawn will turn into a bustling activity center for the resort’s youngest guests during the summer months. With an expanded menu of recreational activities, the Pavilion will exclusively host the popular Range Riders Kids’ Club and experiences such as Kids’ Night Out, YogiBugs, various art classes and more during summer and holiday seasons.

 

“At the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa we believe in welcoming guests with a warm heart and treating them to the best in class service, experience and amenities that they deserve,” said Arthur Coulombe, general manager, JW Marriott San Antonio. “The completion of the River Bluff Water Experience expansion and additional event and meeting space provides our guests with enhanced recreation experiences and amenities to enjoy during their stay with us. We look forward to offering our travelers the ultimate in Texas hospitality and unique experiences when visiting the resort.”

 

The new expansion, designed by EDSA and Blur Workshop, enhances the already thrilling River Bluff Water Experience with the addition of a sand area and beach-entry gradual slope swimming pool and two thrilling slide attractions. The two new translucent blue body slides allow guests to feel the rush from below as they watch riders plummet down a heart-stopping 47-foot free fall slide or speeding through a looping waterslide. An additional 230-poolside lounge chairs and plenty of shady overhangs will create a relaxing vacation experience for families, couples, friends traveling together and corporate guests alike. Multiple luxury private cabanas available to reserve have been added around the new pool area to accommodate guests looking for a more private experience while enjoying all the amenities of the 9-acre park. An additional fire pit provides guests with the ultimate s’more-making experience as part of the resort’s nightly offerings.

 

Travelers continue to enjoy an impressive selection of amenities at the wildly popular River Bluff Water Experience with the existing beach-entry large activity pool, a children’s pool with toddler-size slides, a restorative adult pool with an infinity edge overlooking Hill Country vistas, hot and cold plunge pools and whirlpools, an 1,100-foot-long lazy river and three thrilling water slides. The resort’s water features are heated during cool weather for year-round enjoyment.

 

JW Marriott San Antonio has perfected creating an atmosphere for indoor and outdoor areas that are wide open where guests have plenty of space to roam and relish in the Hill Country ambience whether they are at the resort for business or pleasure. The causal elegance of the resort offers travelers an atmosphere to rest and restore with just the right amount of activities to recharge before they return home. Offering year-round golf on one of TPC San Antonio’s two 18-hole championship golf courses, 9-acres of water park fun, one of the best and largest spas in the U.S. and multiple culinary venues, JW Marriott San Antonio’s amenities are designed to entertain and create lasting memories.

 

About JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa 
Welcome to a San Antonio resort truly worthy of the Lone Star State. JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa has firmly established itself as the city’s premier luxury destination and the most renowned resort in the magnificent Texas Hill Country. Rated 4-Diamonds by AAA and just 12 miles north of San Antonio International Airport, the resort features the 36-hole TPC San Antonio golf course, Lantana Spa, the 9-acre River Bluff water park, seven distinctive restaurants, 288,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and event space, free Wi-Fi in the lobby and more than 1,000 custom-designed guest rooms. Our San Antonio resort hotel is sure to make any visit an unforgettable experience, and it all comes with JW Marriott’s impeccable service and lavish amenities. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful respite, productive meeting or exciting and fun-filled family vacation, our resort in San Antonio is designed not just to exceed expectations but redefine them. For information, call 1-210-276-2500 or visit www.jwsanantonio.com.

 

About JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts 
JW Marriott is part of Marriott International’s luxury portfolio and consists of beautiful properties in gateway cities and distinctive resort locations around the world. These elegant hotels cater to today’s sophisticated, self-assured travelers, offering them the quiet luxury they seek in a warmly authentic, relaxed atmosphere lacking in pretense. JW Marriott properties artfully provide highly crafted, anticipatory experiences that are reflective of their locale so that their guests have the time to focus on what is most important to them. Currently, there are 76 JW Marriott hotels in 27 countries; by 2020 the portfolio is expected to encompass more than 100 properties in over 30 countries. Visit us online, on InstagramTwitter and Facebook and #experiencejwm.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 3,800 properties in 72 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $12 billion in fiscal year 2012.

# # #

 

 

 

THE SIZE OF TAXES ARE UPON US

April 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

THE DINING ROOM TABLE — If I deduct line 34-J from the total of lines 3-R and the leftovers of Page 2-D, I think the federal government owes me an even $250,000. Oh, hi. I was just watching my wife do our 2015 federal income taxes, and seeing if I can pull one on the IRS like CBS and Xerox, and make the rest of you poor wage slaves pay my part. Don’t believe me? I’ll explain. First, let’s destroy the myth we hear over and over again from those talk-radio demagogues who say repeatedly. “Half of Americans don’t pay taxes.” Not true. Everyone pays taxes, but an estimated 45.3 percent of American households — roughly 77.5 million — will pay no federal individual income taxes. Big difference. (That number has fallen regularly from 50 percent reached during the peak of the financial bust in 2008.) Of that 45.3 percent, half of them don’t pay federal income taxes because they don’t have any taxable income. That makes sense. We’ve got millions of elderly Americans in nursing homes who haven’t earned a dime since Truman was President. How many homeless, unemployed, disabled? The other half of that 45.3 have loopholes, which means millions of Americans with incomes, even sizeable incomes, pay no federal income taxes, and it’s all perfectly legal.

The rest of us pay the remaining taxes to run the federal government, but let’s destroy another myth. The U.S. government does not depend solely or even mostly on income taxes to pay its bills. (Remember that the State of Texas has absolutely no income tax. We run Texas on other funds, mostly sales and property taxes, Lotto, UT football tickets and what the DPS wrings out of you for going 85 in a school zone.) Actually, less than half (47 percent) of what Uncle Sam rakes in comes from our income taxes. Another 33 percent are payroll taxes used to fund Social Security, Medicare Hospital Insurance, and unemployment insurance. By law, employers and employees split the cost of payroll taxes, but research has shown that employers pass their portion of the cost on to workers in the form of lower wages. Take THAT, union goons. About 9 percent comes from estate taxes plus the feds’ cut on booze, tobacco, gasoline and anything else they can think of, and 11 percent comes from corporations.

This brings us to the mom and pop businesses which need federal tax breaks to stay afloat, like GE, Boeing and Bank of America. If you paid one single dollar in federal income tax last year, you paid more than Verizon. FedEx and Citigroup. Actually, according to Citizens for Tax Justice (no doubt a commie bomb-throwing group), at least 15 Fortune 500 companies don’t pay any federal income taxes. In addition to those already mentioned, the list includes Interpublic Group, JetBlue Airways, Mattel, Owens Corning, PG&E, Pepco Holdings, Priceline.com, Prudential Financial, Qualcomm, Ryder System, Time Warner, Weyerhaeuser and Xerox. Of course, we must remember Mitt Romney’s famous quote, “Corporations are people, too, my friend.” And some wags’ reply: “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.” These companies do pay taxes, just not federal income taxes, like you and I pay — and pay and pay.

One way these corporations avoid U.S, income taxes is to operate out of a post office box in the Cayman Islands, or just keep the money earned overseas over the seas. James Surowiecki, writing in the New Yorker, notes that “tax inversion” allows U.S. companies to merge with foreign firms, keep operating right here, but pay lower U.S. taxes. It’s a growing phenomenon. There was just one such deal in the 1980s, but there have been more than 50 in the last decade, most since 2009. The biggest was Pfizer’s $160 billion merger with an Irish company.

Again, it’s all perfectly legal, if immoral. These corporations hire top-talented tax lawyers, CPAs, lobbyists and bartenders to explain to members of Congress why beekeepers or lighthouse managers or bullfighters need special tax breaks, and they get them. I’ll bet not one single word in the budget was actually written by a member of Congress. The budget currently being debated is more than 2,000 pages, spends $1.149 trillion which works out to nearly $572 million per page. Last year the revenue and spending were about $3.5 trillion and $4.0 trillion, respectively, leaving a deficit of $474 billion. As huge as that is, it is more than an 11 percent decrease from the previous budget’s deficit of $535 billion. Our children will thank us.

Now let us discuss tax collectors, the most despicable creatures in society. Jesus thought so, in looking for apostles, or maybe disciples, I get them mixed up, he chose Matthew, a tax collector for the evil King Herod. Who better to change from despicable to good? Unfortunately, Saint Matthew, as he is now known, was martyred, but apparently not for being a tax collector. Today, we are facing a change in their ranks. After several false starts, the IRS is hiring for-profit debt collectors to chase down deadbeat tax dodgers. The problem is for years the IRS has been warning us not to trust anyone claiming to be a federal tax collecting agent who wants your money. Last year, more than 5,000 victims fell for the scam, giving fake agents $27 million, so now who are we to trust? As for the IRS, Congressional Republicans, pandering to the deadbeats, have cut the agency’s tax enforcement budget by one-fifth since 2010, when adjusted for inflation. I, for one, wish we had more IRS tax collectors so the rest of us wouldn’t have to make up the losses of those tax dodgers. One study showed that for every one dollar spent on hiring an IRS tax collector, 32 dollars were brought in.

Back here at the dining room table, maybe I can deduct the time I watch CBS.

Ashby is dodging at ashby2@cimcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GULLIBLE’S TRAVELS

April 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

 

THE DEN – Tonight is time for a good book. There is “The Wit and Wisdom of Sarah Palin” and “A Paleontologist’s Guide to Celebrity Chefs.” I started, “Port Arthur on Five Dollars a Day,” but ran out of ways to spend it the second day. Wait. There is a knock at the front door. Now who could be calling at such an hour? I open the door. “The ostrich is heading south.” Huh? This fellow wears a gray fedora pulled down low, his overcoat collar pulled up high, dark glasses. He whispers, “Edgar is at the horse trough.” I shake my head in incomprehension. He glances in both directions. “Is this 777 Roach Road?” I point out that 777 is across the street where Binnie Bob Laden, his five wives and 10 kids live. Binnie’s a strange guy — tall, bearded, says he moved here from Waco. The Running Rats Acres Home Owners Association is holding a hearing on his guard towers and searchlights.

My mysterious visitor reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a pistol. “Then you already know too much. I’m going to have to kill you. Nothing personal. Just business.” I slam the door. Back to my books. Maybe, “Tonsillectomies for Dummies.” There is another knock at the door. I peek through the peephole. It’s him again, only this time he is only holding a newspaper. I crack the door a sliver. “Let’s start over,” he whispers. “I’m doing this for your own good. You see in this newspaper that presidential campaigns are underway, and when it comes to presidents, I’m trying to save you from yourself. For instance, you know that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. I’ve seen the birth certificate.”

“Correct. Obama’s parents were so cagy that they took out notices in two Honolulu newspapers in August of 1961 announcing Barack’s birth there to hide his real birthplace in Nigeria. That way he could run for U.S. President. Now is that foresight or what?” He shrugs. “Are you going to believe everything the leftist media tell you? Speaking of the media, NBC reports that Rafael Edward Cruz was born in Canada, so why does he look Cuban? A Castro plant? Notice that NBC spelled backwards is CBN. Add two vowels and what do you have? CUBAN. I rest my case. As for Donald Trump, his mother was born in Scotland, spoke Gaelic and taught it to young Donald and his siblings. Gaelic is subversive. Bernie Sanders’ parents were from Poland. That was a communist country, and my sources in the CIA tell me it still is, if you can believe the CIA which is full of commies and puts out false information to counter the FBI’s lies. Incidentally, have you noticed that you never see Bernie Sanders and Colonel Sanders at the same time? Coincidence? I think not.”

“It’s time to end this scene,” I say. “Go away. You and your kind are so paranoid that you see a conspiracy behind every tree. Next you’ll tell me that the Establishment is going to unfreeze Jeb Bush and run him against Trump. And Marco Rubio was originally named Marx Radio. You have proof that Ben Carson was right – the Old Testament figure Joseph built the Egyptian pyramids to store food.”

He snorts. “That’s really ridiculous. Joseph stored arms for the overthrow of Texas. Those guns are still there, and Governor Abbott was absolutely correct. Operation Jade Helm 15 was nipped in the bud due to Abbott’s warnings to the Texas militiamen. You people are so gullible. You really think Hillary didn’t order the attack in Benghazi? There is proof, just ask Glenn Beck. Oh, I’d better run. Do you hear those black helicopters?”

A minute later the phone rings. A voice whispers. “You should know that the code name among Banditos for Hillary and Bill is Hillbilly. They’re founding members. But the reason I’m calling is that I wanted to share this information because I discovered who you really are and that you are one of us, Elvis.” I reply: “I am not Elvis. Before I hang up, no, Hitler is not alive and well and living in Argentina. There are no aliens from outer space stored in ice lockers in Roswell, New Mexico, and the moon landings were not faked on a Hollywood sound stage. You are all conspiracy nuts.”

“Conspiracy nuts? Then just tell me this. Why did that Malaysian Airlines plane disappear only one ocean away from Amelia Earhart? And who really killed Cock Robin? If Sasquatch is not real, why does he appear on Fox and Friends listed as ‘the sane one?’ Why didn’t FDR alert Pearl Harbor about the Japanese attack that he knew was coming? The same reason George W. Bush didn’t warn us about 9/10.”

“You mean 9/11,” I say. He laughs. “That’s what most people think, but they don’t know about the year 2000’s change. Y2K was the secret operation that moved up the date. By the way, do you need more guns before Obama sends the ATF to seize your firearms? That’s his plan after he abolishes the Second Amendment. Fortunately, the NRA stepped in with more money for Congress.” I sigh and ask, “What’s your name?” He pauses for a moment and lowers his voice even more. “Bubba Machiavelli. But my cover name is Grassy Knoll.”

“That’s all the crazed, paranoid conspiracy theories I’m going to listen to. It’s practically a cottage industry the way you sell gullible Americans books and TV shows, convince them to build bunkers in their backyards stocked with barrels of water, rations and weapons that you sell at outrageous prices. These wild tales actually make some people so afraid that they’ll follow any would-be leader who says he or she will save them from unseen enemies ready to take over America. If you keep this up, who knows what idiot will become president.”

“What’s your point?”

 

Ashby is hiding at ashby2@comcassssst.net

.