Friday, December 16, 2011

I guess we should have known...

I've heard grown-ups say we should have known - when they passed the law - what would happen, but we ALWAYS think "it can't happen HERE..." right? Besides - they ASSURED us that it would only be used against THEM - you know, the ENEMY!

It was what Dad used to call "Oh-Dark-Thirty" - the wee hours of the morning when people are most deeply asleep. We heard a loud CRASH, and then a bunch of shouting!

I stumbled out of bed and into the hallway, struggling to focus my eyes, and was slammed to the floor by a large man who was screaming "GET ON THE GROUND! GET ON THE GROUND!

I caught a glimpse of a HUGE guy dressed like a soldier - but all in black - before my face hit the floor... Then all I saw was stars.

It seems as if it was over as quickly as it had begun. Suddenly there was silence - all I could hear was my Mother and sister, quietly sobbing. I laid there for what seemed like a very long time - afraid to move - as I didn't want to get shot!

When I finally ginned up the courage to roll over and look around, I saw Mother and Sis curled up on their sides, still quietly crying. I crawled to them to be sure they were OK, then I began calling for Papa.

"They TOOK HIM!" Mama said.

Nobody knows why.

At least, nobody who will tell US!

We went downstairs and found our little dog Spot lying in the entry-hall. He had been shot. Why would those scary people shoot a little dog? I also found Sister's kitten in our front yard - they'd stomped on his head and killed him too! Sometimes it's hard - lying to her - but I'm glad she didn't see him that way...

We tried and tried - for MONTHS - to find out where they'd taken Papa, why -- heck, even WHO had taken him! At first they wouldn't even acknowledge that they knew who he WAS, then the answer became "Security of the Homeland!"

I've grown to HATE that phrase, as it's always delivered with a sneer, and a wave of the hand to tell you to "move along" before they yell "NEXT!"

"Security of the Homeland" - What does that even MEAN?

We felt secure in OUR home - until they broke down our door in the middle of the night and took Papa away. Now we have no "security" at all!

We went to talk to some people who Momma said might be able to help, but so far nothing. The man in the fancy offices with all the books said he would LIKE to help, then something about there being no "haybees corpse" but I don't know what that means either. Our name isn't "haybee" and ... well... I don't even like thinking about a "corpse" when I think about Papa.

The man from TV was actually rude to Mama. He told her to get out, that he wasn't interested in talking about terrorists! In a way I can't blame him - I still have nightmares about those terrorists who broke into our home and took Papa away! What if they come back for Mama?! What would happen to my sister and me?!

The think I MOST don't understand is the way all the other grown-ups are acting. My sister and I have no friends any more - nobody will play with us. My best friend told me that he wasn't allowed to any more - but he doesn't understand why any more than I do.

I think they're afraid that maybe some of the bad-luck will rub off on them, and make the terrorists come back and kidnap THEIR Papa....


SO, dear reader....

Tell me: In which country is this story set?

Is it Russia in the '50s?

1940s Germany?

ONE thing is SURE: It DAMN sure ain't Our Founders' (PBUT) Republic!

But it will likely be Amerika in 2012!

Remember: Government NEVER shrinks, and powers granted are NEVER relinquished!

They needed access to bank account data to catch "deadbeat dads." Next it was "war on drugs" and now "terrorism" isn't even needed as an excuse - we all just accept that they look at our data.

Then there's the "drones." "We're only going to use them on the border." Now they're being used all over the country, for internal/civilian "law enforcement."

These Gestapo tactics are currently (supposedly) reserved for "Al Qaeda and its affiliates."

IF That's actually true, I give it about a week before they pick up the first "lone-wolf right-wing terrorist" (read:person who just wants to be left alone).

Someday we'll have had enough and do what needs to be done to take back our Republic.

Just saying so probably just earned ME a trip to Guantanamo - maybe I'll see you there...

On the bright side, I hear the weather is WONDERFUL!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ancient History -- How I Stood Up To A Gang of Inbred Morons...

THIS POST at "Straight Forward..." made me think about something that happened ~15+ years ago....

But for the Grace of G*d, I could be in prison like the poor man the post is about...

You might find something useful here - at least it's a semi-interesting story...

I once wound up on the wrong side of some local thugs. It was a pretty "backward" sort of area -- one of those semi-rural places where time seems to get a bit warped - in many ways it was 40+ years behind the times though also suffering the scourge of meth and other late-90's problems...

The inbreeds in question were three brothers ranging from ~35-45-ish, 2 of them were married, and all lived in the same house... Needless to say, their gene-pool was more than a little shallow... They were all known collectively as "The Smith Boys*" - and the biggest troublemaker in the bunch was the youngest/smallest one who was called "Little Will*" (*Not real names - no point inviting more trouble in case they ever meet someone who can both read AND use the 'net...)

Over the years they'd ganged up on so many people in the area that neither dared leave home without the other 2 - afraid of being caught-out alone and having karma come home to roost -- so they all worked together as well...

A man who previously had an altercation with them similar to mine, and pressed charges, was later found beaten nearly to death. He's been in a "head-injury institution" ever since -- he'll spend the rest of his "life" drooling on himself, being spoon-fed and wearing diapers.

Everyone in the area KNOWS who did it - there's no doubt whatsoever - but there's no indisputable evidence to tie them to the crime and the "victim" is unfortunately incapable of testifying... Ergo these morons are still running around loose...

 For the record, I didn't know ANY of this until it was too late for it to matter, really...

Also, just to help you "see" the story, I'm a pretty small guy all-in-all -- about 5'9/170... In my younger days I LOVED to fight, and sought out side-jobs at night/weekends as a bartender or bouncer in some pretty rough bars... While never really was a true "bad-@$$", I can truthfully say nobody's ever wanted to fight me twice (except one poor fool - but that's another story)...

As I got older and matured, I studied some conflict-avoidance stuff, body-language and etc - and learned to defuse situations and talk people down so the fights I used to enjoy never needed to happen. I was pretty good at it too -- this was the only time it didn't work -- but I digress...

In short, one of them attacked me without provocation one night on my side-job as a bartender. The woman who owned the bar had ordered them to leave and they'd refused - she went to her office to call police.

We'd been successful in turning this place around, from a bar where the cops were needed every night to the point that it had been MONTHS before this night since they'd needed to be called...  This was VERY good for business, and the owner rewarded me appropriately -- so I didn't want to blow my record!

I -- VERY meekly, hands in pockets, non-confrontational body-language etc. (as always) tried to "keep the peace" and convince them to go before police arrived. After they threatened me too, I turned to walk away and got "sucker-punched" by the "little one" (ain't it ALWAYS the "little one"? - but I digress)...

I saw the punch coming, and rolled with it - thus taking most of the impact out...  Even so, he'd rocked me pretty good -- this guy was obviously well-practiced at the "sucker-punch knockout", a fact which I was later to learn was much more true than I thought... But again I digress...

Having absorbed his punch, I turned around and looked the punk in the eye, smiled, and said

"See... NOW you done f***ed up!"

His two GIGANTIC brothers then stood up behind him - I took a step back and bumped into someone - and realized that literally every other man in the bar was standing behind ME...

I did what I could to defuse the situation -- and the inbreds decided that leaving would be smart though they continued to run their mouths as they headed for the door just as the cops arrived.  All three went out in handcuffs...

In hindsight I SHOULD have attacked, and let nature take its course -- as the result would have been these three getting a well-deserved and OH-SO-LONG-OVERDUE beating -- but I didn't know any of the "history" of these morons at the time...

After stewing for a bit, finding out who they were, and DETERMINED to have what revenge I could get -- I pressed charges against the one who hit me.  They - all 3 plus 2 "cousins" who weren't even present - filed "counter" charges claiming I assaulted *them* -- all 5 of them!

When the court-date arrived, I went pro-se, simply cross-examining each by asking him to stand and state his height and weight, and repeat his accusation against me. On "direct" with their Attorney, all five of their parroted story was laughable - I even noticed Hizzonner rolling his eyes...

My only witness was the Lady who owned the bar who recounted the events of the evening and stressed my non-violent nature and my long-demonstrated ability to defuse situations and "talk down" even the most incorrigible characters. I made sure we really PUSHED the point that since I'd gone to work for her the nightly fights had ended, and the police hadn't been called there in MONTHS!

She also told the story of seeing me trying to talk them down, pointed out /described my "tricks" of body-language and etc and how I'd taught her other staff to do the same sort of things...  I'd done a good job of "rehearsing" with her to be sure she'd get the points out that I needed to make -- though it was all probably unnecessary... Everyone (including Hizzonner and all the court-staff) knew the bar and how much better things had gotten -- they also knew my inbred-opponents -- at least by reputation... 

Prosecutor agreed to just let me "make a statement" in leiu of "testimony" -- I was sworn, but I just reiterated what THEY had said, pointed out the sum-total of these boys' height and weight, and the fact that their claim that I'd just randomly attacked all 19-feet-plus/780#-plus of THREE of them for no apparent reason was simply LUDICROUS. I didn't even bother telling my own version of events...

The Prosecutor elected not to cross-examine me, and noted for Hizzonner the "commissioner's" notes that I had obvious facial-injuries consistent with my "version of events" when I came in to swear out my warrant -- it was pretty clear what HE thought of their counter-charges...

Hizzonner found the "little one" guilty of aggravated assault and battery against me, charged all 5 with Perjury/false-swearing, etc -- he really nailed it to 'em... 

All got reasonably substantial fines, the "little guy" got 180 days, but since it was his first conviction (yes, really!) 90 suspended pending successful completion of probation...

He also asked for and got "weekend jail", which meant he spent almost 2 years of weekends in the County-lockup, and this extended HIS probation to 7+ years...

He also had to pay a considerable fine, plus compensate me for lost-wages, expenses and etc...

In sum, that "sucker-punch" cost the "little one" over $10k, 2 years of weekends in jail and 5 years of probation AFTER that... IIRC the rest of them paid $2500 each for perjury and the 2 brothers another $5k for "false swearing" on the police report and the "warrant" they swore out on me -- plus probation as well...

Hizzonner also told them all point-blank that he henceforth considered THEM to be responsible for my personal-safety -- if ANYTHING happened to me, he'd see them in prison no matter WHO did it.

He also ordered them to stay away from me, away from the bar and etc.

The entire Court-staff was BEAMING - I even heard the Bailiff mocking their lawyer, saying "it's a damn shame when your clients' victim is a better attorney than YOU..."

Within days people began coming to me telling how these guys were offering $5000 to anyone who would beat me badly enough to put me in the hospital, and $10k if it was "permanent."  The 3 started coming in the restaurant (attached) -- always sitting where they could look into the bar and make sure I saw them staring me down...

The police were called, came, and served them "notice of trespass" -- and the cops advised me to move away before *I* ended up in the "drool-cup palace" like their previous victim...  I refused to be intimidated - I wasn't going anywhere...

As an aside, word also spread QUICLY about how I'd "taken his best sucker-punch and turned around and smiled at him" -- some of the more abrasive types suddenly became REAL POLITE in their dealings with me at the bar...

ONE drunk who'd apparently NOT heard got a bit pushy with me one night -- one of the local rednecks said "Duude -- I know he don't look like much, but I SAW this man take Little-Joe Smith's best sucker punch -- he turned around and SMILED at them! You really don't want to f*** with this dude!"

Still, I KNEW the inbreds weren't done with me -- so I started (illegally - no way to get a permit in my state) carrying a pistol in my pocket...

A few weeks later I went to put trash in the dumpster out back and found myself cornered in the chain-link dumpster-enclosure by these three. There was NO WAY anyone would hear me - I was as good as dead.

For reasons I really can't explain, in this area white-trash folks like this just didn't carry guns. It was a pretty "throwback" area -- knives, sticks, fists, boots etc. but no pistols for some reason... When I pulled out my pistol, their eyes got big as dinner-plates -- apparently they'd never considered the possibility that they might get SHOT!

Again - in hindsight - I really SHOULD have shot all three of them right there. No way in hell ANY Jury in that county would have found me guilty -- these three were that well-known and feared by almost everyone, mostly due to the aforementioned "vegetable"...

As it was, I merely put "the fear of G*D into them at pistol-point, and told them point-blank basically what I just said above -- that if I *EVER* saw either of them near me again I'd kill them without a second thought, and that no jury in the county would consider it ANYTHING BUT self-defense.

I kept the same (side) job for about a year - always carrying - and never did see any of them again. I eventually moved out of the area when I met a woman who later became my wife...

As a funny aside, over 10 years later I was passing through and stopped at the wal-mart in the town. I turned the corner into an aisle in the automotive-section and nearly banged into the "little one."

It took a minute for him to recognize me -- but when he did he put his hands up and backpedaled, saying "I don't want no trouble, Man!!"

Heart beating a million MPH I managed to stare him straight in the eye for a minute to be sure my voice wouldn't crack before saying "then WALK..." -- he did...

I've thought on this situation many times -- and this case makes me know more than anything else how LUCKY I was, really -- though I'm really surprised they were as terrified by the pistol as they turned out to be...

I'm still convinced I'd have walked, but G*D knows I'm glad I didn't end up having to shoot them...

I still don't think I'd change anything if I could - even if I "had it to do over again"...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To Turn A Loyal Customer Into A MORTAL ENEMY: A Verizon Wireless Case Study

We've all experienced the ongoing demise of "customer service." Anyone over 40 who is not enraged every time they visit a filthy McDonalds ("You've got time to lean, you've got time to CLEAN!") never worked in one as a youth.

It seems like everywhere I go any more, it's increasingly difficult to find any help at all -- and IMPOSSIBLE to find COMPETENT help.

During the "good economy" years this was somewhat understandable - everyone who WANTED a job had one, and those with a modicum of intelligence and any sort of work-ethic weren't working minimum-wage fast-food or retail jobs.

As the manager of a Wendy's -- to whom I'd complained about an EXCEPTIONALLY bad experience -- put it to me: "You want me to find people with a brain - I'm struggling just to find people with a PULSE!" -- again, the evidence of a good economy.

One would expect however that in our CURRENT situation - roughly 1-in-4 adults out of work (and younger-folk even WORSE off) that the opposite would apply. People with intelligence and a work-ethic should easily displace the stupid and lazy, even for the lower-paying jobs. Managers should be able to say to the "S&L" folk "I have 10 people who would LOVE to have your job if you don't want to keep it."

Further, they should be doing all they can to hold on to customers -- especially in a line of business where there is much robust competition -- where we customers can say "I have 10 companies who would LOVE to have my money if you don't want to earn it!"

So why is it that neither seems to be the case?

Are business owners and managers REALLY so stupid and/or inept that they cannot improve these deplorable conditions?

My recent experience with Verizon Wireless is a "poster-child" study in how to kill your business! In my many years of experience - both as a customer and a provider - I cannot recall a more idiotic situation.

My family were VzW customers for ~13 years - during which time our bills averaged $250 per month. This alone was enough to put us in the top-tier of what they call "High Value Customers." In addition, on numerous occasions during this period I'd made suggestions to them which helped them to cut costs and improve their customers' experience -- so much so that my account had been flagged with a "listen to this guy!" code which ensured that any suggestions I made were forwarded up through channels to the people in a position to implement them!

  • Sending a text-message when you call 411? My suggestion.
  • Changing to a previously-used handset via the website? Mine.
  • Forwarding your calls via the website or a call in to "611"? Mine as well.
There were a number of others which I just cannot recall at the moment, but... The bottom line is that I've made a very good living as an IT Consultant/Systems Architect/Engineer/Etc... - helping businesses to use IT solutions to support and streamline their business processes, and my experiences as a customer often led me to give them the benefit of my skills and knowledge for free.

Further, I'd also been a very good (yet uncompensated) salesman for them as well. My job duties put me in contact with the top-level decision-makers of businesses of all sizes - and my experience with them led me to recommend VzW to all who asked (and many who didn't). I couldn't count the number of my customers who I'd sold on VzW - much to my later chagrin...

The problems began when my wife's company decided they no longer wished to provide cell-phones to any employees. They DID however expect her to keep the same number - otherwise she'd have been forced to scrap $10 worth of business-cards! (he said sarcastically...) - so we were essentially forced to "absorb" her business-phone into our "family" plan.

They DID however work out some sort of deal with VzW, whereby we'd receive 20% off our bill if we kept her service with VzW -- which (given the size of our usual bill) was no small incentive. Her employer provided her with the necessary paperwork and instructions to ease this transition - and we visited a local "Company" (not third-party) store to take care of it.

I probably should have listened to my instincts, and opened a separate account for her line, but the prospect of the 20% discount was just too much to pass up. I became even MORE concerned when the young man who waited on us told me that we'd have to place the account in my wife's name in order to get the discount... I asked REPEATEDLY - and was reassured every time that this would change NOTHING about our account except the first-name on the address form. My "gut" was telling me this would end up being a problem, but he managed to convince me that all would be OK. This REPEATED assurance combined with the 20% discount overcame my instincts, and we made the transition.

Less than three weeks later, we took a road-trip to go visit my daughter at her College. On the way, my phone handset (which was then only a few months old) broke, and refused to charge. When I called her from Wifey's phone to tell her this, Daughter told me that hers (bought at the same time) was broken as well -- so I called Verizon to arrange their warranty-replacement.

My FIRST irritation was to spend over an hour listening to elevator-music, interrupted every 30 seconds or so by the abrasive and un-grammatical voice telling me "All operators are currently busy at this time" -- which may have been necessary for those who didn't know what "currently" meant -- but I digress...  This was the first time I could recall that my calls to "611" had not been picked up IMMEDIATELY! This long wait - combined with the inevitable dropped-call as we drove through the mountains - had me more than a little frustrated by the time I finally gave up, resolving to try again in the morning.

When I called in again - this time from a stationary point and using a wired headset - I still spent over an hour on "hold" before finally getting an operator. The call went fairly well until she told me she'd need a credit-card for the $100 in charges for the replacement handsets.

"Excuse me? These are only ~3 months old, and they're still under warranty!" To make a long story less-long, after putting me on hold several times for ENTIRELY too long, she eventually figured out that the reason her system showed a "new account" with out-of-warranty phones was because of the "transfer" we'd done. She explained to me that this had "voided" our handsets' warranties.

"Oh? So you're telling me that this 'transfer' - which I was repeatedly assured would change NOTHING - had actually voided all of our existing obligations to one another? GREAT! In that case, I'd like to close this account!"

She then explained that this would cost me $700 -- $175 for each of the (4) new handsets they'd just "given" us a few months earlier...

"OH! So NOW what you're saying is that all of your obligations to ME are voided (by 'the switch that would change NOTHING!') -- but all of my obligations to YOU are still in force??!!"

She didn't particularly like my phraseology, but allowed that was "the gist of it, yes." I demanded to speak to a Supervisor, which resulted in another half-hour or so on hold before someone CLAIMING to be a Supervisor came on the line.

This woman apologized profusely, repeatedly expressing her regret that I'd been misled at the store, but standing firm on the "out of warranty" status of my handsets. I then switched to a different defense...

VzW offered TWO DIFFERENT "insurance" plans -- one plan ($5/month) had a $50 "deductible", the other ($6/month) had no deductible at all.  Knowing my family as I do, I'd always gone for the higher-priced plan, for the simple reason that the "extra" cost would be negated by the first "claim..."

So why was I being charged a deductible when I was on the "no-deductible" plan?

It seems VzW had discontinued the $6 plan -- I "must have been 'grandfathered' before the transfer of the account, but once the transfer happened [we] were automatically put on the '$50-deductible' plan."

Yet another SCREWING from this "transfer that would change NOTHING??!!" Needless to say, by this time I had steam shooting from my ears like a cartoon-character...

I THEN requested that the "deductible" be put on my bill, as all past charges had been for years - figuring this would give me time to scream at the store-manager back home and get the charges removed - but this too was not to be...

"This is a NEW ACCOUNT, Sir - you haven't even received your first bill yet -- so I'm not going to be able to do that..." -- THIS from the woman who had just pulled up our "old account", SEEN my 13+ years of history with her company... But she wouldn't budge. I was forced to pull out a credit-card in order to get handsets that worked, less than three months from the time I'd bought the damn things...

Over the next couple of months, I'd tried on several occasions to get things "fixed" -- even requesting that they just undo the "transfer" and put the account back in my name -- but they were always DREADFULLY sorry that they were "unable to do that..."

In the meantime, I found that the reason I'd never had to wait on-hold when I called "611" was due to my former "High-value customer" status -- I was now experiencing the same lousy service given to all the other sweaty, smelly hoi-polloi...

I was also forced to face the fact that I'd unwittingly misled COUNTLESS people when I'd touted VzW's FANTASTIC customer-service, especially the "never had to wait for an operator!!" I shudder to think what (or how MANY) people must think of me when they switched and found out things were nothing like I'd described... but I digress...

Basically, we were STUCK for the rest of our 1-year Contract -- the ONE thing I'd done RIGHT was to always pay a bit extra for handsets to ensure that I could get out after a year if I wasn't happy...

Near the end of the year, Wifey's boss started really leaning on her to get a "smart phone." Her position is such that not having e-mail in her hand at all times (not to mention SMS/IM, Etc) was a bit of a problem...  She's frankly a bit "technologically impaired" - and this was becoming an unacceptable handicap... So I took her to the VzW store to see what sort of handset she might be able to learn to use...

This was JUST after the "Motorola X" had hit the street -- an oversized touch-screen, Android phone seemed like just the ticket for her. Additionally, I was due a $100 "new-every-two" credit from VzW -- so after much heartburn over previous treatment, we decided to stick with them...

So I sat down to place our order online.  (2) "Motorola X" handsets, (2) Car-docks, (2) Home-docks, (2) travel-chargers, (2) leather cases, Extended-batteries, and Etc... The total came to over $1500 -- quite a chunk of change for a company who'd treated us so poorly, but... I bit my tongue and made the order...

Or TRIED to -- except I couldn't get the website to give me the aforementioned $100 credit that I was due -- so I (ONCE AGAIN!) called "611" and sat through the interminable hold...

It's important to note that this was about the 5th of the month - and the website said (due to the HUGE demand for the "X" handset) they were on "backorder" and would not ship until the 26th -- more than three weeks away...

When the flunky FINALLY came on the line, she informed me that my "new every two" credit wasn't ACTUALLY due until the 9th -- FOUR DAYS into the future. I asked her to "click whatever it is you have to click" to authorize my order -- and was once again told "I'm not able to do that..."

In the past, they'd more than once given us "early credit" -- sometimes as much as THREE MONTHS early - so I KNOW this was yet another example of the "NOTHING" that was supposed to change when we made the transfer...

Further, the phones weren't going to even SHIP until over three weeks AFTER my due-date -- so it's not as if I'd gain any benefit at all from being allowed to place my order!

I managed to keep my cool, and once again asked for a Supervisor. After a full 40-minutes on hold, the same girl finally came back and told me that "No supervisor is available at the moment" -- but promised to have one of them call me within "24 to 48 hours."

Oh -- and I forgot to mention the **REAL** kick-in-the-'nads of all of this...

That "20% discount" that precipitated this whole fiasco? We learned (after YET ANOTHER 40+ minutes odyssey through the hold-queue) that this ONLY applied to Wifey's line - not to the whole bill.

In sum, ALL this disgusting mess "saved" us was 20% off the $9.99 base-charge for her line.

ALL THIS for LESS THAN $2 per month!


Enough was enough.  At the moment when the "48 hours" expired -- with no call from a Supervisor -- I was sitting in the AT&T office, discussing the logistics of transferring all our lines/accounts to AT&T.

THEY were willing to bend over backwards - meet all my conditions and even throw some "freebies" at me to get my business.  I ended up taking (1) smart-phone handset, with the understanding that Wifey and I would each use it for a week or so and - assuming all was well - RETURN IT within 30 days ("trial period") before transferring all our lines and numbers... They were MORE than OK with that!

Before "pulling the trigger", I followed the advice of a friend and called VzW's "customer-retention" department -- in a last-ditch effort to get them to do SOMETHING to indicate that they wanted my business!!  The woman I spoke to (after the usual ~40-minute hold) expressed her sorrow at our bad-experience, but claimed to be unable to do anything to "Fix THIS."

When the day finally came to do the final transfer, I decided (since I was driving it past them anyway) to stop and offer THEIR manager ONE FINAL CHANCE to save my account. After the usual expressions of powerless sorrow, he DID offer to give us "500 free overage minutes" if we'd keep our business with VzW. I asked - to be sure - if this was "500 minutes EACH MONTH?" -- nope -- "Just a one-time thing..."

Bearing in mind that AT&T was offering me 1/2 price on (2) Smart-phones and accessories, and that in spite of adding the (2) smart-phones and their necessary data-plans, and MORE "anytime" minutes per month our monthly bill was going DOWN from what it had been at VzW!

*AND* AT&T accounts included "rollover minutes" - whereby I could EASILY build up THOUSANDS of "overage minutes"!



I guess I SHOULD have expected it, but...  A few weeks after we left VzW and transferred our accounts, Verizon called me, all but BEGGING me to "come back home to VzW."

YES - the woman actually used that phrase!

She really seemed to pull out all the stops -- there was an AMAZING list of incentives they were willing to offer me, from discounted phones to a free "microcell" device to discounted plans!

I managed to conduct myself as a Gentleman while I explained to her this whole, sordid tale -- then I asked her - bluntly - what SHE would say to ME if our roles were reversed...

In the ONE act of genuine integrity I'd encountered since this whole fiasco started, she said "I don't think I'd be able to respond in anything other than four-letter words." She also offered what seemed a GENUINE apology and wished me a "better experience with [our] new provider."

I honestly believe she meant it...

In any case -- in the interest of FULL disclosure -- our experience with AT&T hasn't been perfect.

The smart-phones we got (Samsung "Galaxy S") have had a number of problems, and I let them string us out with promises that "a fix is coming" until it was too late to exchange the handsets for something better.

I've also had a lot of problems with dropped-calls - which again APPEARS to really be a problem with the Samsung handsets as while my phone showed "no signal" my daughters' phones would both be working fine...

They've also screwed up our bill on a number of occasions wherein I had to call in to get it straightened out -- but the "notoriously bad customer service" I've heard and read about from various people has yet to show its face...

So far, everyone I've dealt with has been more than willing to help, whether I called "611" or visited the "company-store."

In sum, though AT&T has been imperfect -- ESPECIALLY compared to my much-missed "High-value-customer" experience with VzW -- I'm still glad we made the switch and wouldn't go back to VzW if they were somehow the only provider on the PLANET.

In fact, I'll continue to do my best to ensure that everyone knows the TRUTH about them -- which seems to be the LEAST I could do given how many people I've previously (though UNKNOWINGLY) misled...

Should someone from Verizon Wireless read this, well... All I can say is this:


Actually, I COULD (and would frankly LIKE TO) say a whole lot more -- but I try to avoid using that sort of language, especially in a place where women and children could possibly read or hear it...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why the _resident Has Played "Birther" Games For So Long...

As I'm wont to do, I started commenting on a post -- at Alvie's place this time -- and couldn't get it done in under 4096 characters...

So, here's another blog-post/comment...

Go read Alvie's bit first, please...

All done?


Let's face it: faking what was produced would be trivial for any reasonably-competent gang-banger.

Does that mean it's fake? Honestly, I don't know.

I've experimented following a vid I saw on YT, and the fact is that running "optimisation" on the .pdf file (to shrink it) produces artifacts nearly identical to what we see in Obama's purported BC.

To be frank, I suspect they knew this before they even released it -- after all, now we'll have a whole new set of objections (as you noted) and this can be used by Dear Reader and his media sycophants to further marginalize the objectors in the minds of the average sheeple.

I'll go further:
(1) It wouldn't matter if someone produced video of him being born with a "Welcome to Kenya" sign in the background -- he's not leaving office until he's done.

NOBODY in a position to remove him would be willing to do so -- not even those ostensibly on "our side."

Why? Simple: Every city in the US would burn, and they're not willing to take that consequence for enforcing the Constitution.


Ergo, I've been dragged kicking and screaming into the "FUGGEDDABOUDDIT" crowd!

We have far more important things to do than push the "birth" issues -- in this I agree with Kerodin and others.

As to all the "why now?" questions, it's really rather simple:
Dear Reader's past is about as filthy as they get. HE -- and more importantly, his puppet-masters -- KNOW this, and they know they must avoid having the truth come out at all costs -- at least until he's inaugurated into his second term.

How do you think the "independents" would react if they saw IRREFUTABLE evidence of his lifelong Communist sympathies and associations?

How do you think they'd react to PROOF that he travelled to Pakistan on an Indonesian passport -- with his sugar-daddy/gay lover?

How do you think they'd react to UNQUESTIONABLE documentation that he claimed foreign (Indonesian) citizenship when he went to college -- so as to get "foreign student" scholarships?

How would they react to UTTERLY IMPECCABLE PROOF that the Saudi royal family pulled strings to get him into Harvard, payed his way while he was there, and even traded a HUGE donation for him being made _resident of the law-review despite his never having written a damn thing?

How do you suppose they'd react to evidence that he got his SS# in Connecticut to avoid paying NY taxes -- or that he and his wife both lost their law-licenses by Court order because of false statements made on their bar apps?

There's more -- MUCH more -- in this clown's history, and he's managed to shut it ALL down by playing this (apparently) "stupid" game about his BC!

It's actually BRILLIANT strategy -- which is all the evidence *I* need that *HE* isn't the one who came up with it!!

All he had to do was "play the game" about his BC, and wait -- wait until the pressure began to build.

He released the "short form" - which only increased the baying of the hounds - while his toadies continued the "birthers are all CRAZY RACISTS!!11!!1" smear, followed by "It wouldn't matter if he DID release his BC -- it would NEVER be enough for those CRAZY RACIST BIRTHERS!!"

Once that meme was firmly established, and an ostensible opponent proved willing to brave the slurs and keep pressing, he releases the BC.

Now, *ANYONE* questioning *ANYTHING* else -- his passport/citizenship/communist associations/Saudi connections, ANY OF IT -- can easily be dispatched with a simple "See -- he GAVE them his BC, and they're STILL NOT HAPPY!!"

I'm telling you, it's BRILLIANT.

And it's probably bulletproof as well.

He's managed to stall for 2.5 years with the BC, if he can do the same again he'll be solidly into his second term -- and G*d help us if he gets THAT!!

Which is why we *MUST* focus on beating him -- and everyone else -- in 2012.

I don't think this can prevent the collapse that's coming, but I DO think that with the right electoral success in 2012 (if we make it that long) we can reduce the damage SOMEWHAT.

We cannot possibly beat this demon-spawn on his PERSONAL history -- which is why we must focus on his _RESIDENTIAL history -- on what he's done since 1.1.2009.

If we can't beat him on that, we can't beat him PERIOD.

That's my $0.20 worth (inflation)...


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why she sleeps -- and why those who wake her are REALLY going to be sorry!!

You know, I've been thinking on this of late -- perhaps more than is really healthy, but I digress...

We Americans are sometimes a bit slow. Look at our history!

In WW1 we tried to ignore what was happening all over the world, but when it finally began to REALLY threaten us, we put our nose to the grindstone and -- in short order -- helped the rest of the world finish the job.

Now, being slow as we are, once the evil was back in its box, we buried our dead and went home -- back to living our lives.

Sure as the sun will rise in the morning, a couple of decades later we once again found ourselves busily minding our own business as the rest of the world once again riled itself up into a hell of a conflagration.

Even with all the obvious signs of impending threat, we snoozed right through a certain fateful Sunday morning -- and had a rather rude awakening...

Old Yamamoto knew though, didn't he? He KNEW he'd "awakened a sleeping dragon", and he was RIGHT! Once awakened, our entire population once again got busy, exterminating the most current threat to Liberty and Freedom on our planet at the time.

And... once again... we finished the worst of the work required then promptly buried our dead and headed home to -- once again -- mind our own business, leaving a monster -- one NEARLY as evil as the one we'd just helped defeat -- unvanquished.

Fast-forward through 50 years of the cold-war, and that monster fell, sickened on its own evil. We Americans -- being the generally-benign sorts that we are -- went promptly back to sleep, in our biggest move of idiocy to date.

We slept on through the next couple of decades, while that CANCER we SHOULD have defeated in 1945 continued to metastasize inside our own body-politic. Once again, we awoke when it became a real threat to US -- to the very existence of the Republic our forefathers willed to us.

As a brief aside, I must acknowledge the various little "police-actions" in which we involved ourselves in the interim -- every one of which resulted in our apparent defeat.

Every one of them had a specific trait in common -- a trait they share with the stupid little debacles in which we're currently embroiled: In every case, we got involved in something that far too many of our people saw as unimportant -- as not a REAL threat to our existence!

To me, this seems to be the dividing line between Uncle Sam setting up to put the boot in some tyrant's A$$: the level of real threat to our Republic!

Few could argue that when the Germans were sinking American-flagged ships in 1913-14, they represented a real threat to our Republic. Likewise, the Japs made it pretty damn clear in December of '41 that we were going to have no choice but to fight in the conflagration consuming the rest of the planet.

Korea? Even in the post-WW2 era, too many people just couldn't understand why we were wasting our time and youths in some frozen hell-hole halfway around the world, fighting for people who looked an awful lot like the Japs we'd just finished nuking not so long before.

Vietnam? Not so much -- at least to the average Joe who was watching his neighbor's boys coming home in flag-draped boxes. What do WE care for those skinny-little Jap-looking folks in their pajamas and funny hats and rice-paddies?

9-11 was a RUDE awakening, one to which we awoke - briefly, but with a vengeance! The problem was that the war that ensued -- once again -- didn't really affect the average-person's LIFE.

Sure -- we've all seen someone we know, perhaps the son of a friend of a friend of a friend came home in one of those boxes, but ...  NONE of this has required a full-on mobilization of everyone, yet.

As the M.E. graffiti said -- "America is NOT at war -- the MARINES are at war! America is at THE MALL!!"

And we are.

So far.

But, we're waking up~!

Slowly, but SURELY, we're waking up!

Yeah, this time we've slept a bit too long, while The Enemy snuck into our camp and even took up residence in the Commander's tent!

Yeah, we're going to take a bit of a beating this time -- no question about it!

But We ARE waking!

Those of us who opened our eyes first are busy -- gathering supplies and materiel for the coming battle -- and most of us have enough to provide our neighbors with the arms they should have been busy gathering while they slept...

Heck, I alone could put a functional long-arm and a decent supply of ammo into the hands of every adult in my neighborhood -- and I bet 9 of 10 who read this could do the same!

I'm not saying we should stop cranking the siren, stop ringing the alarm-bell, stop shouting "!!~INCOMING~!!" to any and all who will listen -- far from it.

We should keep doing what we're doing, and MORE!!  But we should also recognize that EVENTUALLY, when this sleeping dragon awakes once again, we're going to kick hell out of The Enemy just as we always have.

Further, THIS time, I'm pretty sure we'll understand that we cannot cut out when the immediate threat is reduced and go back to our pleasurable-pursuits.  THIS time, we're going to have to wipe The Enemy from the planet -- because otherwise it will NEVER stop coming for us, NEVER give up until either We - or THEY - no longer exist!

Do you not think your neighbors -- sheep though they may be -- will rise when they have no other choice?

I'm sure you men know - as I do - that there's no more wanton female on the planet than the prim and proper "good girl" who discovered her sexuality. If you've been lucky enough to land one of these gals, you know what I mean...(he said with a leering grin...)

Likewise, there's no more fearsome warrior than the gentle, quiet, peaceful man whose been forced into defense of himself and his family.

When our Sheeple neighbors are finally FORCED to fight, THEY'RE GOING TO BE **PISSED**!!

And I have a pretty good feeling that The Enemy will be made to understand Yamamoto's "sleeping dragon" in a way even he could not have imagined!

Right now, our sheeple-neighbors are still busy attacking US -- the loudmouths they see as responsible for disturbing their white-picket-fence-fantasy slumber.

But you know as well as I do that The Enemy is planning and scheming - and their next salvo is going to make 9-11 look like a day in the park at a toddler's birthday-party.

And when America finally awakens, she's going to be MAD AS HELL!!

And THIS time, I think she'll not stop until the job is done...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Morale -- and why ours isn't NEARLY high enough!

I've been reading a lot of gloom-and-doom from some of the men I consider to be in the "vanguard" of "this thing of ours."

To be honest, I've been finding it pretty hard to be optimistic about our future myself -- as it's undeniable that a people who were PAYING ANY ATTENTION AT ALL would already be storming the halls of Sodom-on-the-Potomac, hands filled with torches and pitchforks, tar and feathers to follow.

I can't argue that things seem dire - but our morale doesn't need to be anywhere near as low as it is.

REMEMBER: The Enemy controls the entire "media" apparatus in the Western world! -- and it's not in their interest to tell us how many people share our KNOWLEDGE -- much less our outrage!

They *NEED* to make us feel alone and outnumbered -- as their continued survival, and the success of their evil schemes depends on us being dejected!

G*d has a way of speaking to those who will listen -- and I truly believe he's sent us a message!


We all know about the sick pukes who call themselves "Westboro Baptist Church." Even The Enemy must admit that these people are the lowest form of evil, but that they nonetheless have the Constitutional right to spew their sickness wherever and whenever they wish.

In fact, it's my opinion that any person worthy of the title "Patriot" would be willing to fight against any attempt *by the Government* to shut them up!

YES -- I would fight on the side of these beasts to defend their first-amendment rights against *Government* infringement! I would also - after the battle - do my best to deliver a beat-down they'd never forget -- but I digress...

Well-intentioned - but misguided - people have attempted to use the Courts and Legislatures to stop these vermin from spreading their filth -- and have RIGHTLY failed in the attempt -- Government simply cannot be allowed to infringe on free speech, no matter how unpopular or hurtful said speech may be.

We The People however are NOT Government!

So why am I talking about the WBC pukes in a post that's supposed to be about why we Patriots should stop worrying so damn much?

Well, it seems that WBC finally bumped up against some determined Americans -- people who were paying attention and have had enough!

The results -- linked here -- should serve as a how-to manual for every town these animals choose to pollute with their presence!!

See, there *ARE* people -- some of them even wearing the uniform of the probable op-for -- who know right from wrong isn't always the same as legal vs. illegal!

Still, why would I say this small event gives us reason for optimism?

It seems that the town targeted by WBC became aware of the *POSSIBILITY* that those pukes might show up, and reacted JUST AS WE'D EXPECT TRUE PATRIOTS TO ACT!

THOUSANDS of people -- not just a few who parked their cars, and the few tow-truck-drivers too busy to move them, but THOUSANDS -- likely a majority of the population of the town, mobilized to ensure Justice was served!

Warning: Following THIS LINK may lead to watery eyes and a lump in your throat -- it sure as hell did  for me.

Watch that vid, all the way to the end, and tell me again how "outnumbered" we are?

Tell me again how a people - once made aware of the evil at their door, and given a plan for dealing with it - will not rise to the occasion!

We're FAR from outnumbered, Brothers.  In fact, I believe Glenn Beck was 100% right when he said "We Surround THEM!!"

Buck up, Brethren.

Stand tall!

Keep your chin up!

There are a lot more of "US" out there than you think!!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Google: "Don't Be Evil" ?? Just who are YOU working for??!!

Last night I decided to watch the lovely Miss Barnhardt's latest videos.

Next, I tried to "friend" her, and was told "this action is not available right now."

So next, I hit "Subscribe", and was forced to a login page.  "Well..." thinks I, "...I'm ALREADY logged in, ut...  Whattheheck..."

So I type in my ID and password again, and I'm taken to a page that tells me my account has been "blocked" for "suspicious activity."


Oh, but it gets better. 

Go check my Blog - "deleted."

GMail? "Same "Blocked" page!

NOW I'm getting PISSED!

See, to UN-block all my stuff, all I have to do is (1) let them CALL me (meaning give them my phone number) or (2) let them send a TEXT to my cell-phone (meaning give them my !$^&#-ing PHONE NUMER!


So, then I start thinking of all the ramifications of this... I mean...  It's not as though I have anything to HIDE, I've been VERY careful not to say or do anything online that could constitute a threat, or anything else of the sort -- otherwise I'm sure I'd already have welcomed my 3AM visitors in kevlar-ninja-suits.

No, what HONESTLY worries me is getting an IRS audit notice (for example.) Not because I have anything to hide - I don't, my accountant is more anal than I am, I'd rather pay a little extra to be " in the clear" anyway...

We *KNOW* that Clinton and other Dem presidents have used the IRS to harass those who pissed them off -- and I'm pretty well engaged full-time in stuff that's likely to rub a whole lot of Demmunists the wrong way!

Besides -- give the SOBs your phone number and you can just forget about anything resembling "anonymity" on the 'net anyway...

The truth is that anything you do online is trackable to your IP address - which puts them in your town at a minimum.  Anyone from the .gov can then find your address with a simple request to your ISP.

Yes - it's that simple.  You thought you had PRIVACY??!! 


No, Glasshoppah -- No Plivacy on 'da Intahnet!!  No Plivacy at arr!!!


So what to do?

I ended up going and buying a pre-paid cell - the cheapest one they had.  Signed up for a "10cents-per-minute" plan, bought the cheapest "air card" I could get, and used that to do their verification -- away from home, of course.


No point in making it EASY for them!!

Still...  I've checked over my GMail and other places -- no reason for ANYONE to suspect my account of anything.  I'm not blasting SPAM, don't have any ads of any kind on this blog...  NO REASON AT ALL why I should have earned anyone's attention...

Well, except for all my comments on "right-wing" blogs, and this little nest of sedition you're reading right now...

You think I'm being paranoid?  If the "need" was to verify that I'm a human and not a "bot" - then tell me why the usual "captcha" code wouldn't work?

Why do they need a PHONE NUMBER??!!


Watch your Six, fellah's...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Challenge to the WaPo re: "Project Gunwalker"

If you don't know what this is about, see the links below.

I followed a link from Sipsey Street to a WaPo story - as usual they're advocating further abrogations to our G*d-given and Constitutionally Protected right to the tools of self-defense.

No surprise there - I'd be surprised if it was otherwise.  Then I followed the links to other "related" articles.

One of them was in reference to "Carter's Country" - a TX gun-store currently under investigation by a Grand Jury for following the edicts of the ATF.

I was even more surprised to see the WaPo writers had included an "update" which put SOME of the blame where it belongs.

On the off-chance these two reporters might actually be willing to tell the truth, I decided to write to them.

What follows is my letter to them:
If you're REALLY interested in THE TRUTH about the ATF and mexican "crime guns" then you're missing the boat.

What would it take to get you guys to tell the TRUTH about our G*d-given right to bear arms?

Hundreds of guns smuggled into Mexico **BY THE ATF** in order to pad "statistics"?

This sick ploy being not only hidden from We The People but from the Mexican .gov as well?

Having at least one of those guns get "loose" and into the hands of cartel criminals?

Having at least one of those guns being used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent?

A desperate coverup which apparently reaches into - at least - the West Wing?

All of the above are 100% *FACT*.

Do I have your attention?

ATF agents with both personal knowledge and documentary PROOF of all of this are currently, desperately seeking "whistleblower protections" -- not only to avoid economic ruin, but also to avoid becoming the sort of "he shot himself three times in the back of the head" "suicides" that tend to happen to people who cross the powerful.
For more information see - this letter and its links should get you where you need to be
So... your ball.

Are you interested in TRUTH, or just "the narrative"?

I guess we'll see..
 Should anyone else wish to write to them, "James V. Grimaldi" can be contacted HERE, and Sari Horwitz HERE.

Like I said, "We'll See..."