I walk into the room passing out hundred dollar bills

The Forbes 400 list is out today.  That’s the 400 richest people in the United States.  I’m not on there.  Yet.

Let’s break it down PBE style.

#1 Bill Gates.  He’s got his money, he’s busy giving it away now.  As much as I dislike Microsoft, Bill Gates is now irrelevant.  Computing is moving to the cloud, Google beat Microsoft to the punch on that one.  Nobody’s going to spend money for Microsoft Office when they can use Google docs for free.

#2 Warren Buffett, just about the smartest guy in the room.  I have it on good authority that his driver takes him down to the corner store on Sunday morning to pick up his Sunday paper.  In an old Lincoln.  In his pajamas.  Because that’s how they roll in Nebraska.  Warren Buffett is in favor of straightening out the tax code knowing that he will then and only then pay his fare share.  Good on ya Warren.

#3 Larry Ellison.  Still an asshole.  Still my favorite billionaire asshole.  Larry works the law and got a $3 million tax break on his estate in Woodside.  Here’s a guy who builds an ostentatious obsolescent piece of shit Japanese style estate to his personal specifications and then when he gets his tax bill argues that it’s an ostentatious obsolescent piece of shit to get $3 million off his tax bill.  The hit to the San Mateo school district was $1.4 million.  That’s the kind of an asshole Larry Ellison is.  I guess I like his scrappiness.  And it’s the San Mateo County Tax Assessor’s fault for not telling him to stick it up his ass.

Tied at #4 are the Koch brothers.  These two are the life’s blood of the Tea Party.  All these idiots in the street are the foot soldiers of two men who collectively control $50 BILLION DOLLARS.  These teabaggers are knuckleheads who could never ever hope to attain a 50th of the wealth that the Koch Brothers hold.  The sad thing is the Tea Party rank and file don’t have the chops to ever become anything more than ignorant foot soldiers in the Koch Brothers’ class war.  And that’s exactly what it is.

#5, #9 and #10 are all Waltons.  Walmart.  Champions of the American worker.  Notsomuch.  Advocates for healthcare for all Americans.  Not so quick there Bucko.  Friend of the lobbyist?  Yep, they spent billions to get their causes forwarded.  One was Bush’s dividend tax cut making them even richer.  $51 million dollars richer in 2005.

#7 is George Soros.  The right has said everything they can about this guy.  He’s the devil.  But he’s the only liberal in the group.  That’s right.  Out of the top 10 billionaires in America there is one bleeding heart liberal.  Get it?  Sheldon Adelson rounds out the group at #8.  He’s the head of the Sands casino empire which is currently making buttloads of money in Asia.  And everywhere else because people turn to gambling when times are tough.  Booze, cigarettes and gambling.  (that’s today’s stock tip by the way).  Adelson is deeply involved in Israel politics.  He is opposed to the two State solution and throws tons of money in that direction.  Taking a page from Rupurt Murdoch’s play book, he created a Hebrew language newspaper called Israel Today to advance his ideals.

Wonder why there’s so much pushback with taxing the rich?  Let’s see, the really rich guys don’t want to pay any taxes (they actually pay around 17% compared to the 35% you and me pay) so they spend money supporting politicians who will advance their cause.  Those politicians do their beckoning because that’s how they get elected and they like being elected.  That’s why.

That’s why I hang my hat in Tennessee

Greetings from the Land of Rick Perry.  It’s a parallel universe down here.  I’m in Austin.  We can see the State house from our hotel.  I wonder if his Helmet headed Highness is here.  Probably not.  I suppose that’s OK.  Monday night was the first night I’ve ever spent in the Lone Star State.  We flew in on Monday, had events the rest of the day and evening.   Yesterday we started again at 7:45am and ran until 5pm.  At that point I had three mixers to go to.  The nice thing about these events is someone else buys the cocktails.  Until you’ve had too many and then you get to buy your own.  Except in my case, someone else kept buying them.  It pays to hang with the top producers.   Or maybe just the PoPo.


Hard to say.

Anyway, after an evening of bad decision making, the training resumed this morning.  One thing I can tel you about the Cult of Red, they walk the walk.  I have never worked for a learning based company before and these guys go out of their way to train you properly so it is totally your fault if you’re not successful.

Speaking of which, I just found out I’m number 12 in the office.  That puts me in the top 20% and gives me 11 people to chase.  For a personality like mine that is a powerful motivator.  Nobody get’s up in the morning and does back flips because they’re number 12.  Granted I thought I was in the middle of the pack and granted number 1,2, and 3 are setting the world on fire, but it gives me a goal.  That’s a good thing.

I had some time this afternoon before my flight.  I stopped by Mellow Johnny’s.  Sort of a pilgrimage.  They’re very nice there.  They have probably 10-15 bikes in there that Lance has ridden either in general or in races.  Beautiful bikes.  Bikes that weight like 2.5ozs.  There some stuff from some other guys there too.  It’s like a museum, bike store, coffee shop, fitting studio, spin studio facility.  Worth the walk in the Texas heat.

Well it reminds me of the menu at a holiday inn

There’s been lots of rumbling about Bank of America failing.  I say let’em.  Any bank that can’t run their business needs to circle the drain like everyone else.  Nobody is going to bail my ass out if I don’t make it.  There are times when it’s pretty tenacious around here, like right now.  The fact that some bastard sitting back in North Carolina is going to get to keep his job because my tax dollars were taken to save their butts infuriates me.  I’d like to see US Bank fail right now too.  For a different reason.  Let’s start with BofA.

I have a client who lost his job in 2008.  He isn’t particularly skilled labor, but he’s a good man who loves his family and has worked hard every day of his life up until that day in 2008.  He has spent the last three years trying to get back to work.  His wife’s income is all they have.  It wasn’t enough.  They wiped out their savings, went bankrupt, lost it all, couldn’t pay the house note any more, asked the bank for a modification, which was refused and here we are.  I take the listing and take an offer on the house in about 3 weeks.

I call Bank of America when I take the listing and tell them their borrower needs to short sale.  They say “Initiate it in Equator”.  I do.  Crickets.  In Equator they task to the broker each new task.  Essentially after the 3rd party authorization is uploaded they task back “Upload the RMA”.  The RMA is the Request for Mortgage Assistance.  About three weeks later I call and they say “Oh we aren’t doing this one it’s REDC, you need to fax everything in.”  About that time get call, a package has arrived at my clients house.  I go out there and there’s the RMA.   We follow every instruction to a T.  The letter is on BofA stationary.  I fax it in and crickets.  Apparently they want more stuff but they never tell me.  It’s a secret.  I call back and they call it a “Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure”, I say “No, this is a short sale”.  Now they tell me that in spite of the Request for Mortgage Assistance, the signed listing agreement and the signed offer, my client has to call REDC on the freaking phone and request a short sale.  I have my guy make that phone call last Thursday.  Yesterday I call and they tell me that he called at 6:39am that morning and requested a deed in lieu.


Excuse me?

I said Bullshit you stupid little chippy.

Yep, I’m talking to another Tiffany.  This whole process you talk to either Tiffany, Brittany or Sheniqua.  Or maybe Clinque.  More likely than not, no one old enough to drink legally.  My terminally unemployed guy did not get up at 6:39 in the morning and call you idiots.  My guy calls back and argues with them to get the short sale.  Seriously.  His life is a mess, at least he might be able to get back on track in 3-4 years with a short sale.  It’s a non-recourse loan.  It’s not June 2012, he has a chance.  A deed in lieu is going to jack him up for seven more years.  The tax consequences should be non-existent for this guy either way, so let’s get him on with his life with the least amount of damage possible.  Trust me, I don’t short sale if they want to stay and a modification makes sense.  And I don’t short sale if they should be walking away.  And I don’t tell them to walk away with out telling them to talk to an attorney.   Hopefully, he got through their thick ignorant heads yesterday and we can proceed with short selling his home.  It should not be this hard.  Or this ridiculous.

Now on to US Bank.  Assholes.  This one’s personal.  I used to maintain my business accounts with them.  My patience was thinning.  It worked when I was at the other brokerage because he paid me out of his account which was with US Bank.  When I went to the Cult of Red, we get paid directly by the escrow company.  I get checks from Wells Fargo, Bank of New York in Los Angeles (thanks Fidelity, you idiots), Bank of America, and CoAmerica.  Probably some others, but I don’t know what.  US Bank puts a 10 day hold on any check drawn on any bank over $5000.  Most commission checks are over $5000.  They tell me some convoluted story but I know goddamn good and well they collect all of these banks the next day.  And then they charge me $33 for every item that goes through before they release their bullshit hold.   Last month they took $330 from me for that.

Last week, Norman clocked me in the eyeball.  I bent over to get a foxtail out of the water bowl and he raised up to see me.  He just about dropped me.  He did not hit my face, he only hit the eyeball.  Let me tell you, that hurts like a mofo.  My vision was screwed up, I was seeing swords of light and floaters.  For the first time in four years I had to go to Kaiser.  I’ve been paying for it every month and never had to use it until last Tuesday.  There is a co-pay of $100.  As I pay them on my business card, I know I need to move money.  It was August 30.  I sit down in the waiting room, log on to US Bank on my phone like I’d done many times before and move Septembers pay from the savings into the checking account so I can pay myself.  Paying myself involves writing a check off of US Bank to my personal account at WFB.  The next day I write a check to myself and deposit it into my WFB account.  On Friday I go to buy groceries and can’t get any love on the WFB card.  Strange.  I use the US Bank card and it works.  I figure the check just didn’t clear right way, I used the ATM after all.  Yesterday I get a letter from WFB that there is a problem with the check.  I go back and look on the US Bank side and the original transfer never occurred!  There’s another $297 worth of bounce charges and over $5000 sitting in the freaking savings account!

I call them and tell them what happened and they say “Well, we don’t see any transfer”.  No shit.  “We can’t refund you the fees if we can’t see where you logged in”.  Listen you ignorant little bit of parrot droppings, if your computer saw the transaction it would have moved it and we wouldn’t be talking.  The goddamn thing didn’t go through properly.  “We aren’t going to refund you the fees.”  Look you jackass, why in the world would I leave over $5000 in the savings account and write a bunch of bad checks?  Why would I do that?  “I don’t know why you would do that.  I’m not you.”  Let me help you out.  I wouldn’t do that, your system screwed up.

Last night I went into my local branch of US Bank and ended our relationship.  I asked the very nice teller (my local branch isn’t stupid like the branch I opened the account with) Would you pay $300 a month to do business with this bank?  She wouldn’t.  I told her “That’s like a car payment to have a checking account with you guys.  Does that sound appropriate?”  No.  She got it.  They know me there.  I could tell by the look on her face she was horrified by the story I was telling her.  I didn’t beat on her, it wasn’t her fault.  She just needed to know that the back office did the wrong thing and her bank not only lost a customer, but pissed somebody off really badly.  We all know a happy customer tells three people, a pissed off customer tells ten or worse yet, blogs about it.

So now I’m about a rat’s ass hair away from burying my commission checks in a coffee can in the back yard and building a bunch of hillbilly booby traps around here.  I promise you my Senators and my Congressman (I’m in John Garamendi’s world) will know that I vehemently oppose helping out any more bankers.  They’re what’s wrong with America.  They are the assholes that want no government regulation, that comes with no governmental bailout.  Here’s a new script for you jackasses in your future work environment “Would you like fries with that?”

Who do you think you’re fooling?

We’re heading into another political season, as if we ever got out of the last one.

Like most of the country, I am outraged by what’s going on, or perhaps what’s not going on in Congress.  I am disgusted by how stupid we’ve become.  And I am mad as hell.

Are you getting tomorrow off?  Great.  THANK THE UNIONS.

From the Department of Labor’s website:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Here are some words that the right wing have used to promote hate.  I’ve had it.  When you see these words, know that they are words of hate.

  1. Lawyers -Yep, back when George H.W. Bush was running for first Vice-President and then President, he blamed the problems of this country on the lawyers.  I call bullshit.  Lawyers were the first of the current boogie men.  They practice law.  They are the ones that should be in Washington writing laws.  Not the clowns that are currently writing laws.  Lawyering is an honorable profession, there are dishonest ones, that’s for sure, but there are dishonest politicians too so GHWB had no right to single out the lawyers.  And this country was stupid for believing him.
  2. Academia -Yeah, pick on the smart guys.  Also a GHWB tactic.  Maybe he was just grooming his idiot son for the Presidency.  Without academia we wouldn’t have the medical breakthroughs we have now.  If you’re sick, really sick, you want to be at a university hospital.  That’s where the best of the best and the brightest of the bright reside.  George W. Bush would never be found there.  Nor would Dan Quayle.  Seeing a pattern yet?
  3. Cultural Elite -What does that mean?  Andy Warhol?  Diane von Fürstenberg?  Doris Duke?  What did that mean, but it caught on.
  4. Liberal Media -First, I don’t know when liberal got to be a dirty word.  It’s not.  Once upon the time before a bunch of corporate marketers changed the way that news was delivered we used to be able to trust the information.  Now it’s all about the bubbleheaded blonde that comes on at 6.  And selling soap bubbles.  And market share.  I will never forgive Dan Rather for announcing James Brady’s death.  But, I’ll take the Liberal Media every day of the week over Faux News.  They’ve been proven to be criminals by Scotland Yard, why do we still watch them in America?  Why do we believe a single word they say?  If you haven’t seen Outfoxed, go rent it.  Nuff said.
  5. Moral Majority -It wasn’t moral or the majority but they kept repeating it as if it were true.  I could do a subsection on these asshats.  Pat Robertson blaming New Orleans for Katrina or Haiti for the earthquake.  Michelle Bachmann just mused if the earthquake and Irene were God’s way of signaling Congress that they weren’t doing what she thought they should.  Or how about their preachers going down, literally, one after another for, let’s see, hookers, homo hookers, meth, illicit affairs and Godonlyknows what else.  Shall we take a moment to talk about Congressional morality?  Thought not.  Not moral.  Not the majority.
  6. Unions -Yeah, the guys who stopped child labor, forced a livable wage, job stability, health and safety standards.  Yeah, the Union is the bad guy if your the corporation.  If you’re the worker, they’re the good guy.  Stupid.
  7. Tyranny -Obama is not Ghaddafi.  Ghaddafi was tyranny.  Saddam Hussein was tyranny.  Obama is the President.  Congress, is just as stupid as the people who elected them.  That’s not tyranny either.  King George III?  Tyrannical.  An elected President?  No.
  8. Freedom -Like you can’t do what you want to within reason in this country.  Don’t be an asshat and you have more freedom than any other country.  You have the freedom to be a total douche and vote consistently against your own interest.  Ain’t America grand?
  9. Special Rights -They are only special when they aren’t afforded the entire constituency.  Once that happens, they become special from subtractions not addition.  If it’s 1850 and a slave wants to be free that’s a special right.  Because his right to be free has been subtracted.  See how that works?  But you don’t learn what it means because you have a half assed American education and you buy into that rhetorical horse crap.  The right to marry is only a special right because it’s been taken away.
  10. Elite <add your slur here> -You aren’t elite so it’s ok to hate “the Elite” whoever they are.  Here’s a news flash Senators are elite.  There’s 100 of them.  Congress is elite.  There’s only 435 of them.  Governors are elite.  There’s 50 of them.  You and me?  We aren’t elite.  We’re just schmucks working a job.

There will be a ton more in this new election cycle.  Know them.  Reject them.