Equifax Notice of Data Breach (With A Truth Filter Enabled)

About 1/2 of all Americans received a letter from Equifax over the last few weeks outlining the totally unacceptable data breach that, of course, no one who makes more than 250k a year at Equifax is being held accountable for. Even though there was obviously insider trading, the most likely source of the breach was internal, and at best the Equifax executives withheld the data for at least a day while they sold off their stocks. The letter, of course, tries to inform the consumer of the problem without assigning any blame to Equifax. It’s overall goal is to help Equifax executives avoid being held accountable for their criminal activities. So here, I am reproducing the letter with George Carlin style interpretations in parentheses () where appropriate. Enjoy!

EQUIFAX

NOTICE OF DATA BREACH

Dear Proles,

This letter follows up on a cybersecurity incident Equifax announced on September 7, 2017. (It took us months to admit to it and then even longer to try and cover our tracks which is why you’re receiving this letter so late.) At Equifax, our priorites with regard to this incident are transperncy and continuing to provide timely, reassuring support to every consuer. (Meaning, we will pretend to care if you call us but you’re pretty much on your own if you are actually a victim of identity theft, etc. because of our criminal incompetence. I mean come on, you know the Corporate Democrats would have never held us accountable, so why do you think the Neo-Conservatice Republicans led by Trump will? We can do whatever we want and get away with it right now!) You are receiving this letter because you are one of the 3 million additional potentially impacted U.S. consumers that has personal information that was potentially exposed, as described below. (Meaning, your data was definitely taken. In fact, you’ve probably already had to at least run credit reports and file fraudulent credit card charge claims, but we still won’t admit to it because we don’t care. In fact, you have to be out of your mind to keep doing business with us. That is assuming you don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard for in your life before you can protect yourself, because we took so long to inform you in the first place.)

What Happened

From mid-May through July of this year, Equifax discovered that criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. (Meaning that we had inadequate security because we never took it seriously, underpaid our IT staff, and had too few employees working on security to keep your data safe. Basically, we didn’t give a shit and never will since we can always get away with blaming our workers regardless of how we treat them. Also, by certain files we mean that we had lots of your data in just a few locations, making it easy for criminals to get lots of data at once. Our security model is often referred to as the Cadbury Creme Egg Model. Meaning hard outer shell, soft creamy center and our eggs were old and had even been dropped.) Upon discovery, we acted immediately to stop the intrusion. (Ok, well our own commentary shows that we didn’t act immediately, but hopefully this sounds good enough that you don’t put 2 and 2 together on that point). The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm which has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. (You know, like we should have had been doing the whole time since we had data on about 50% of the population. Oh well, fuck you, deal with it!) Equifax also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continues to work with authorities. (Which is kind of a joke, because all of our social systems have been totally gutted by people like our CEOs, and the upper class in general, but this sounds good to say here.) Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. (So over a very long period of time, and we just weren’t paying attention, or some of us were involved. Remember Ockham’s razor. It probably took place over an even longer period of time, but we’ll never admit to that.)

On September 7, 2017 Equifax notified U.S. consumers of the data security incident, including that approximately 143 million (plus the 3 million additional consumers above so actually 146 million) U.S. consumers were impacted. (We’ve tried to soften up this number by using the whole U.S. population of about 323 million, but the adult population is about 250 million, meaning that 60% of consumers had their data stolen in a way that can be used immediately. Meaning that trusting your money with any large U.S. bank or credit organization is literally insane and shows you why our system is unsustainable.) On October 2, 2017, following the completion of the forensic portion of the investigation of the incident, (so 6 months after the original incident, because we were busy trying to cover up our own crimes), Equifax announced that the review determined that approximately 3 million additional consumers were potentially impacted. (See, we keep saying potentially, when we mean definitely. We’re just so spineless that we won’t take responsibility for anything, and honestly, for the sake of the species, shouldn’t be allowed to breed as we represent the worst among you. I mean, really, you guys all go to work for a living, and then we steal from you, it blows our minds that you tolerate that, but you do so whatever!) To minimize confusion, you are receiving this letter because you are one of the potentially effected U.S. consumers. (Again, replace potentially with definitely here.)

What Information Was Involved

Most of the consumer information accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some instances, driver’s license numbers. (Basically, everything someone needs to totally fuck up your life. Oh, and it’s your responsibility to solve the problem, not ours. Thank god for the Republicans and Corporate Democrats who are on the take and will never hold us responsible. Phew, it would be a close one without those guys on our payroll.) In addition to this notice, Equifax will send you a direct mail notice if your credit card number was impacted. (Which is not true, because many of you who know your credit cards were impacted did not receive notices. I’m sure we’ll pretend that we just didn’t know. Tee-hee.) We have found no evidence of unauthorized access to Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases. (But then again, we missed everything else for months, and took even longer to report it, so that doesn’t really mean anything. In general, we’re totally incompetent, or at least that’s what we want you to think. We actually probably just stole from you.)

What We Are Doing

(Overall, we’re just pretending to care. I mean, come on, we all know that the Trump administration won’t hold us accountable.)

Upon learning of this incident, Equifax took steps to stop the intrusion, and engaged an independent cybersecurity firm to forensically investigate and determine the scope. Equifax also engaged cyersecurity firm (it really does say firm here, we can’t even be bothered to proof read stuff like this) to conduct an assessment and provide recommendation on steps that can be taken to help prevent this type of incident from happening again. (This was always possible, we just chose not to spend money on protecting you until something awful happened because it would have cost us money that our spoiled kids could spend on blow to use in their Ivy League dorms.)

Equifax is focused on consumer protection and has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to help consumers. (We should have called it equifax_unacceptable_data_breach_2017.com) We are also offering free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring to all U.S. consumers, even if a consumer was not impacted by this incident. (You know, like we always should have since we make millions off of reselling your information, etc. This is also a way for us to shift the blame back to you when something happens to you because of our incompetence.) This offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of your Equifax credit report; the ability to lock and unlock your Equifax credit report; (meaning it’s totally useless if another credit bureau is used) identity theft insurance; (of course no amount is specified here, because we’ll totally try to fuck you on that later like any insurance company) and Internet scanning for your Social Security number – all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year. (We hope this will keep us from going to jail, but come on, we can’t give you more than one year, because we’re just that greedy.) To find out more information on this complimentary offer and to sign up, please click on the tab “What Can I Do” on the dedicated website. You must complete the enrollment process by January 31, 2018. (Better keep saying complimentary. Then people feel like they’re getting something when they’re not really. Well they already got screwed by us, so that’s something right…)

In addition, by January 31, 2018, Equifax will offer a new service allowing consumers the option of controlling access to their personal credit data. (Like we always should have offered, but remember we were too busy selling your information, buying cocaine and hookers with the profits, and supporting candidates like Donald Trump so we could get away with incompetence like this all of the time, to do that. Also, this will be useless if someone uses another credit bureau.) The service we are developing will let consumers easily lock and unlock access to their Equifax credit files — for free, for life. (Again, it’s not really free. It’s your data after all. We had no right to withhold it from you in the first place.)

What You Can Do

In addition to enrolling in identity theft protection and credit file monitoring, please see the “Identity Theft Prevention Tips” and State Information below. (A great first step would be NOT doing business with us anymore. Oh and NOT voting against your own interests in the future. You should probably start voting for people that will actually hold us accountable. I mean really, what other proof do you need?!) This information provides additional steps you can take, including how to obtain a free copy of your credit report and place a fraud alert and/or credit freeze on your credit report. In addition, please monitor your account statements and report any unauthorized charges to your credit card companies and financial institutions. (All of who should know better than to trust us in the future.)

For More Information

Equifax is committed to ensuring that your personal information is protected (well not really, that’s why we’re in this mess in the first place, but this sounds good here), and we apologize to you for the concern and frustration this incident causes. (I mean, again, if we cared, this wouldn’t have happened, but maybe this will keep you from putting us in jail where we belong.) If you have additional questions, please call our dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, available from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, seven days a week. (Even after this we won’t give you a 24 hour call center. Come on, that means underpaying workers for 3 shifts and we are still really, really greedy and incapable of taking responsibility for our mistakes.)

Sincerely,

Equifax Inc.

(Notice how we didn’t list the names of any of our upper echelon here. We don’t want you remembering who they are.)

The NFL and Trump (Both 1st Amendment Hypocrites)

So before I say anything else, let me say how disgusted I am with the obsession Americans have with pro-sports. Talk about having backward priorities. We are on the cusp of losing our healthcare, we may be going to war with North Korea, the environment is a total wreck, we have the largest gap between the rich and poor since the gilded age, and Americans in general have not reacted to it. In fact, about 1/2 of voters voted to make the situation worse for other Americans by voting for Trump, but now, now that he screwed with football. Now we’re getting a reaction. I guess in some ways I should be happy that anything got people off of their asses to do something, but man what a bunch of sheep. Anyway, before you get your panties in a bunch, because I insulted your pro-sports gods, it’s important to note that both sides are hypocrites when it comes to the first amendment. Sure, maybe the players themselves are not but the NFL definitely is a fascist organization. That’s why most of their owners voted Trump in the first place as I’ll expand on below.

The modern collegiate sports system is very much like a system of modern slavery after all, especially when it comes to football and basketball. Keep in mind that the NFL and NBA get most of their players from collegiate slave labor programs where they ruin their bodies and keep them from getting properly educated all in the name of making the university money and scoring points using some kind of ball.

Anyway, I won’t even make the financial argument about watching a bunch of rich assholes argue the first Amendment via sportsball games. The players have a right to protest the American flag if they want to. Like it or not, that’s free speech. Instead I want to talk about the hypocrisy on both sides.

So, again, I support free speech in all of its forms, including the NFL players that want to protest the American flag. It’s easy to see why, especially the African American players, feel the way they do and should protest. In fact, it’s proper for them to do so. When our country was founded we understood that ideals were important than profits and having a culture based on individual liberties and freedoms mattered. So even if the guys writing the documents (aka the founding fathers) were hypocritical slave owners themselves, their core ideas were good and they set the foundation of our culture. We should be going more towards individual freedoms, not away from them.

Still, it’s always hilarious when the NFL pretends to give a shit about free speech. For example, the Seahawks pretend they really care about free speech when they play at CenturyLink field and have CenturyLink, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon as partners, advertisers and sponsors. These companies fought for, and won, the right to censor all of the information that you receive via network prioritization and with their Anti-Net Neutrality stance. Perhaps Trump should become a Seahawks advertiser, then he can get away with doing whatever he wants in regards to speech and the Seahawks.

Here is a list of the stadiums that different pro-football teams play at. They’re pretty much all owned by corporations that censor information and/or support companies that do. Most of these companies support Trump too. The Trump administration is totally against Net-Neutrality as well so why they can’t agree on who should or shouldn’t stand for the national anthem, they do all agree on one thing. That giant corporations should be allowed to censor your information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_National_Football_League_stadiums

One final thought. The NFL was already refusing to sign players like Kirkpatrick for their protests. Plus most of the NFL owners were huge Trump supporters. Many of the players were too, using their celebrity status to help get Trump elected, just so they didn’t have to pay their fair share in taxes, even though they knew he was a huge racist. In fact, they gave him so much money that it’s arguable that without their support the Trump campaign would not have been successful. Are they having buyers remorse now?

Update: Well it looks like most of the wealthy owners, especially the ones that helped Trump get elected, have almost all caved into his demands. Guess the players really are slaves. Sure, very wealthy slaves, but slaves none the less.

PSE (Puget Sound Energy) Pocketing Your Maintenance Fees

So another example in my long list of why monopolies of any kind are never a good idea and we need more public infrastructure again focuses on Puget Sound Energy. Recently a City of Bellingham truck backed into a poll at very low speed. Normally this would not have been much of an issue, but PSE doesn’t do a good job maintaining their poles and other infrastructure so it was. They also have recently raised the rate they are charging people to hang wires from their poles. You would think this is because they have a great network of poles, but it’s actually just because they are stealing from you via maintenance fees. They collect the fees and then do nothing to maintain their infrastructure. This poll snapped and fell over because it was so old and rotted out that if you breathed on it incorrectly it wold have fallen over. If you look closely you can even see a wasp’s next in here. The post to its left has so many holes in it that it looks like swiss cheese. Most of these poles are also in a high wind areas, and obviously many of the poles are in terrible shape and should have been replaced a long time ago, so it would make sense to bury the cabling. PSE always says this is too expensive to do, but that’s only because we don’t actually hold them accountable for all of the problems that their lack of maintenance causes lost work hours, ruined food, damaged electronic equipment, the list goes on. In fact, our regulation of them is so toothless that they don’t have to reimburse you at all unless you’ve lost power for 5 days and then they only have to give you 50 dollars. Just like with the telecom companies, our government has created a system that allows these monopolies to rob you blind and doesn’t even hold them accountable for maintaining their own infrastructure even though they charge their customers maintenance fees. Of course, our council includes members that work for PSE like Pinky Vargas so I’m sure nothing will be done about this in the near future. Still, it’s pretty obvious from the photo that the last time this pole was a live tree dinosaurs roamed the earth. I’m sure they’ll say it was just an oversight.

City of Bellingham Washington’s Backdoor, Fascist, CenturyLink Deal

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. — Wikipedia

The COB officials kept saying it over and over again. “It’s a Cable TV deal, not an internet deal. We regulate Cable TV, not the internet. That’s done at the state level.” Here’s what they didn’t tell you.

CenturyLink recently signed a deal with our very corrupt Mayor Kelli Linville and our equally corrupt city council. According to the COB, it was supposedly just a Cable TV deal for PRISM TV services with CenturyLink, one of the most fascist, irresponsible, hated companies in history and for good reason. One of those reasons is that they have been on the front lines of fighting against Net Neutrality and for the right to censor information. This behavior is part of the reason that Net Neutrality was established by the Obama Administration in the first place. President Obama was a member of the Democratic party, the same party that represents and even endorses most of our local candidates.

The City didn’t just sign a deal with CenturyLink. They assigned staff, at our expense, to the 18 billion dollar company to help them come in and then used a 2nd provider clause to help them avoid even the small amount of regulation that was placed on Comcast. So basically, they came in with no regulation.

The COB also did not seriously investigate other options, even though one of the most successful public fiber networks is literally next door in Mount Vernon and they offered to share information. The COB public works director, Ted Carlson, even threatened, on behalf of Puget Sound energy, to end the one meeting they had with two local public fiber experts because they were using PSE as an example of poor infrastructure.  Brian Heinreich, the deputy administrator, showed up late to the meeting and then refused to share any of the information from it with the council. By this point, they were already deep into giving CentuyLink corporate welfare to come into the community. Apparently an 18 Billion dollar company needs our help to figure out how to operate here and they need us to do it at our own expense.

The mayor would not give a public option the time of day, even laughing the city’s own attorney off stage when he suggested they should go over the exceptions being made for CenturyLink by the COB. The council joined her in this laughter right after Michael Lilliquist implied that it was silly and told James Erb, the city’s very hard working attorney, that he could sit down. It seems that the mayor and council considered this deal to be a joke, or the public too stupid to care about or even understand what was going on. CenturyLink sent four lawyers to this meeting just in case any pesky people from the community showed up.

The PRISM TV service is served over a small amount of fiber, but paired with the loss of Net Neutrality, they can prioritize any traffic they see fit. Meaning that when you go to test your connection at a speed test site your traffic will be prioritized too, often giving you a false positive, but it gets even better. This kind of behavior is why CenturyLink is in the middle of a class action lawsuit in King County. http://www.king5.com/money/consumer/centurylink-hit-with-class-action-lawsuit-over-billing-practices/451646322

The day after signing the “TV” contract with CenturyLink Kelli Linville personally killed a report that was being put together on other private internet options in the area even though it was near completion. She as also delayed a report being put together on public options, as far as anyone can tell, indefinitely. So they keep saying it’s a Cable TV contract, but they keep treating it like an internet solution. Of course, they skirted over the details about how CenturyLink’s low-income options tend to be a joke and how their services still cost about 10 times what they do in other developed countries. They also ignored the fact that they cost 3 times what they do even in other parts of the US like Kansas City. They laughed again at the idea of wiring up the whole city with fiber even though this would cost about 1/5th of what they’ve already spent on the ill advised Waterfront project and even though the network would pay for its own expansion if installed correctly. In fact, a public network could be started with as little as $300,000 and could support dozens of local providers.

Of course all of this information was sent to the mayor and the council before the July 24th meeting. They had 2 odd meetings. A 1pm meeting where the public was not allowed to ask any questions and a 7pm meeting where the public could make brief statements, but the council never took any anti-CenturyLink information under consideration.

In fact, Roxanne Murphy and Pinky Vargas gushed over CenturyLink, thanking them for coming into our town. Both said the opposite at a Young Democrats meeting to get their endorsement. Pinky was asked specifically if she supported Net Neutrality which she said she did but at the July 24th meeting she then backed up and gushed over one of the most Anti-Net Neutral, and therefore anti-first amendment companies in history, CenturyLink. Roxanne had an equally poor showing saying she would support the same kind of infrastructure they had in Tacoma and specifically public infrastructure, but then telling CenturyLink how she has been a customer of their for years, and will wait as long as necessary to get their services.

The city says that CenturyLink can not discriminate economically but has effectively given them every means to do so. CenturyLink simply is not going to go into communities that don’t have a “certain kind of infrastructure” meaning they will mostly be going into newer, wealthier communities. So their business practices will result in economic discrimination, just not in a way they can be legally held accountable for.

Also, if it was just a cable TV contract then why did the Bellingham Herald run two articles on CenturyLink’s behalf. One highlighting it as an interent service?

Their second defense is that CenturyLink could have sued them if they didn’t let them come in. Well we pay for lawyers to be on the COB staff and since doing business with a company that is attacking the first amendment is against our code of ethics we could have easily defended against this.

Of course this won’t address any of our social concerns. When asked what CenturyLink was doing about North Bellingham by Dan Hamill they refused to answer his question. Dan of course voted for them anyway because he’s corrupt.

Now I know people hate it when you make references to the Nazi’s. Almost as if we’ve been programmed to have that knee jerk response, but the parallels between Anti-Net Neutral companies like CenturyLink, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and most of our providers and governments nationwide and the Nazi’s are inescapable.

Most people think the Nazi’s were socialists, but the system they actually pushed for was a system with a bunch of trusted companies working closely with the government. They wanted the government to be stronger than corporations but in the end their goals were met as long as these two entities were stronger than the people. They all agreed that they needed to have control of the media to control the people like they do now because we don’t really have other options in Bellingham. Similar behavior like this has all been well documented in a book called “Rise of the Fourth Reich” by Jim Marrs.

All of this so the city doesn’t have to establish a Dig Once policy to install inexpensive conduit, improve their existing infrastructure, and give you real options via a publicly owned, net-neutral, internet system. I don’t know about you, but something smells pretty bad down at city hall to me. Nothing is more important in a free society than the free flow of information and your government consistently chooses to backup companies that have fought for the right to censor the information you receive and charge you the most per MBit of data in the developed world.

CenturyLink has confirmed in an e-mail sent to me by Marty Mullholland, the city’s IT director, that they will not be providing better service to the county. They also have confirmed that they have the right to pull out of Bellingham if they do not get 20% of users within 5 years and they will not even establish a local office if they do not get 30%. Even Comcast gives us a local office with a lower percentage of users. So basically if they don’t get a monopoly of some kind they will not take us seriously as a community.
Historically the cable companies don’t actually compete with each other. They establish territories and no real competition takes place. This is partially due to the fact that content providers set the rates for what their content will cost. Think of it in regards to how the oil industry works. OPEC sets the overall cost of oil. Sure, you may have a Mobil and a Shell station in the same town but their rate for fuel will only vary by a few cents.
This dependence on fuel can be totally replaced by creating better infrastructure for charging electric cars, which have many advantages, but pressure from the oil companies and our government’s lack of interest in creating real infrastructure keeps that from happening. The same thing is happening with broadband.
Content providers have tried to slow down the expansion of Google Fiber by originally double charging them to provide the same content as other providers like by stating that Google was a non-traditional provider. Even with all of this Google provides TV and Gigabit internet services for $100 a month in Kansas City. Google has already decided not to come to Bellingham for many reasons that would require a separate article to explore.
All of this so that we can continue to not improve our infrastructure and continue to pay ten times the rate for internet that they do in other developed countries. With a truly good internet connection you would not need separate TV services. In fact, you don’t now. Here is a breakdown of the cost of internet and TV by country. Keep in mind that their speeds are also about 10 times better down and 100 times better up than most of you can get in Bellingham. We pay the highest price for internet per MBit in the developed world.
Kansas City (Gigabit Internet $70 with TV $100)
Japan (Gigabit Internet $25.50)
Hong Kong (Gigibit Internet $24)
Sling TV (Starts at $20)
So if you were able to get internet at an affordable rate and wanted TV you could pair it with something like a Sling package and pay less than half of what CenturyLink wants to charge you. There simply is no excuse for the rates that we pay and our lack of infrastructure. Pair that with the Anti-Net Neutral stance of most of Bellingham’s providers and there is no excuse for not at least perusing a public option to create real competition, address our social and economic issues, protect ourselves from content censorship, and drive down cost.

Are Trump Supporters, Even the Ones that Don’t Hate, Responsible For Charlottesville?

I’ll start out with a link to an article the explores the same question in relation to average German citizens in the WWII era. Meaning, how responsible were average Germans for the behavior of the Nazi’s?

http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/02/20/reviews/000220.20gewent.html

One of the things that has happened in American culture now is that, as we enter a phase that is more and more Orwellian and Nazi-esque, super liberal Americans have a knee jerk reaction to anyone that compares our society to the Third Reich. In fact, they will tend to consider anyone that makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazi’s to be overstating themselves, even when the comparison is just and sound, as it often is.

Many peaceful rallies have been booed by Trump supporters for doing things as simple as having a moment of silence to reflect on this most recent tragedy in a growing list of tragedies associated with this presidency. Trump supporters will agree with the people being booed and say, “That’s awful, but we weren’t all involved. So don’t blame us,” or “Trump himself has said that the behavior is wrong. Not all Trump supporters are like that.” The list of excuses continues, but it was obvious pre-election that the most backward elements of our society were hoping for a Trump presidency. Meaning that Trump voters knew that if they supported him they would also, even if they didn’t want to, be supporting these elements as well. Before I go on, let’s reflect on the fact that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate, yet again. Let’s also reflect on the fact that you could have voted for a better third party candidate instead of voting for either Clinton or Trump.

While that is true to some extent that not all Trump voters are racist Nazi’s, the biggest problem with the Trump presidency is that it brings out the monsters of the past who are still here. This presidency has given them new life, and just like how the Neo-Nazi movement gained power in Greece recently when their economy collapsed, and Germany refused to bail them out (how’s that for irony), it is gaining power in America now too. In general it gains power whenever a once proud people are put in dire straits. This doesn’t make it acceptable, it’s just what happens.

Add to this the fact that gun owners show up to peaceful protests with weapons and you can see that, although they technically have the right to, their obvious goal is to intimidate. That’s why you show someone your weapon in the first place. To intimidate them. It’s like the behavior of bearing your teeth among all primates.

So, are Trump supporters, even the ones that don’t hate, responsible for the behavior of the other Trump supporters that do? Well simply put, YES. Just like the German people that didn’t resist the behavior of the Third Reich were ultimately responsible for the tragedies that happened in Nazi Germany, all Trump supporters are and can be held accountable for the many atrocities that have happened, and will continue to happen, under this presidency. Still, in the end those of us that don’t resist them will be responsible as well.

Think about it, right now no matter how relevant or well written this article is it is probably being pushed down in network priority via fascist Anti-Net Neutrality laws imposed by Comcast, CenturyLink, Verizon, AT&T, etc. pushed on you through backdoor cable TV deals by your own local governments. I’ll be writing a separate story on that on this site too. Our supposedly “progressive” city council and mayor just spent our tax money giving corporate welfare to CenturyLink and allowed them to come in on a Cable TV contract to avoid all regulation even though they’ll be providing internet and TV services over the same cabling. (More on all of this in the separate article). So the “progressives” in my town supported an Anti-Net Neutral company. So in short, they supported censoring the news and stealing bandwidth from the poor. Doesn’t sound very progressive to me.

So this is just one example of how we’re not resisting and should be. If you are not pushing for Net Neutral, publicly owned connections at this point you are supporting censorship of the news and that is just the tip of the ice berg for what many of us will be held accountable for by the time this presidency is over. Of course, we won’t be able to share information in the meantime.

If you are not admitting that open carrying a gun is equivalent in animal behavior to bearing one’s teeth to another animal you are responsible for what is happening and what is to come.

If you are not admitting that all animals, including humans, will get sick and need treatment at some point you are responsible for the many Americans that are suffering needlessly everyday while we continue to be the only developed country without Universal Healthcare.

The list goes on, but you get the picture. If you are a Trump supporter you are more responsible than most Americans, but even worse are the Americans that can’t be bothered to do anything or care at all. You are the most responsible. Just like the German people in the WWII era that knew something very wrong was going on, but didn’t resist.

 

Comcast’s New Bullshit Wireless Service (XFINITY Mobile)

So Comcast rolled out a plan similar to Google’s Project FI recently. I was, like most thinking Americans, skeptical. I knew it had to come with a horrible catch attached to it, like possibly requiring my mother to undergo experimental medical testing to get the deal. Comcast is one of the most hated companies in American history after all and their partner Verizon isn’t far behind. Actually, Comcast is one of the most hated companies in all of human history.

Google, a Net_Neutral company, partnered with slightly more reasonable wireless carriers T-Mobile and US Cellular but their pricing is about the same. Still, their pro Net-Neutral stance shows that they are at least a progressively run company for the time being.

Comcast partnered with super Anti-Net Neutrality carrier Verizon. We all know these guys for charging us at least 10x what people pay in other developed countries per for our services and backing them up with half-assed technology, like copper instead of fiber-optic based wiring, now they’re teaming up to pretend they’re doing you a favor again while taking advantage of you. Here’s how.

You have to have an XFinity account in the first place to even get XFinity Mobile. They mislead you with their advertising and say you can get unlimited calling for $45/month, but that’s only if you have one of their premier TV packages which start at $150 a month. If not, because you realized that traditional TV is going the way of the dinosaur and stupid, you will pay $65/month. So a family of 4 without a premier TV plan will pay almost $100 a month more for an unlimited plan than they will even with Verizon directly, who overcharges them too. The flyer I received also indicated that this may be a limited time offer that only extends through July as part of their “amazing” launch. In short, they’re screwing you again.

Yes, there is a pay per Gig option of $12 per gig, but this pricing is on par with many other providers that won’t hypothetically eat your firstborn if you sign a contract with them. The wireless hotspot access they advertise is largely stupid and pointless. Most businesses will allow you to use their Wi-Fi if you’re in range, staying with them, etc.

Comcast is also fervently against Net-Neutrality. This is probably because the truth is that Net-Neutrality is good for the end user. It effectively requires companies to actually improve their infrastructure without charging their customers more as their demands increase. It also keeps questionable companies like Comcast and CenturyLink from doing things like censoring the news, etc. using network prioritization or stealing bandwidth from their poorest users. All of that will be fair game if we lose Net-Neutrality by the way.

In the end it’s a bandaid to the problems we face with telecom today. We need public broadband that is Net-Neutral. Sure, private local providers can help provide access to this network, but without it we’ll just keep playing these games and keep being taken advantage of. How about this. How about instead of shitty Comcast hotspots we establish a network of public broadband Wi-Fi hooked up to public fiber that people can use to get their work done anywhere at no cost and get America out of the telecom dark ages.

So in short, one of the most immoral things you can do during this dark time is voluntarily give Comcast, CenturyLink, Verizon, and any of the other telecom companies supporting Trump’s Anti Net-Neutrality policies your money. It doesn’t even make financial sense to anyway.

One more note from the standpoint of the government. Whenever a new service comes up government officials who either don’t get it, or claim not to get it because they’re invested in these big telecom companies, use these services as justification that services are becoming available to more and more people at better rates but that simply isn’t true. The competition we’ve seen in the private market gives us all about the same services for about the same prices with limited equipment options. The companies carve out territories and stop competing almost immediately, creating an illusion of competition while establishing virtual monopolies. It is not in their interest to really make improvements. The only times that they do are when public options are established that actually bring pricing down, and give citizens a better option.

Before doing the right things, the big providers will usually start out by trying to force communities not to provide a public option in the first place, turn them off if one has been installed, or even use red scare tactics and call it socialism. Basically, they will try everything not to let you have better service, from an ethical provider, at a better price, but if your community sticks to its guns it will change their behavior for the better too.

Be Leary of Candidates with Endoresements

I know, you look at the title and think that I’ve gone off the deep end. Well perhaps you think I’ve gone off the deep end again, but there is solid logic to this argument. You see, when candidates run for seats they seek endorsements, but many of us do not know how that process works. Essentially, it’s a pay to play process. If you want to vote for a candidate, say with the Whatcom Democrats, you have to show up and pay a fee. Sure, they’ll argue that the money is used for events, etc. but the point is that you have to pay just to get in and vote.

So in a town like Bellingham where 1/3rd of the people, including families, earn less than $25,000 a year per household you will probably end up with a lot of those people supporting a candidate that is considered “more liberal” which these days translates to less bloodthirsty, or not crazy, or not a dirt bag of a human being, etc. The poor not only have a hard time affording a fee of any kind, but it is inappropriate to ask them to pay any amount to vote. The minimum wage here is $8.75, and low-income voting is $10. So you’re asking them to give up more than an hours worth of pay to vote. Plus, they may work later shifts meaning that making the meetings are harder for them than the rich people that can easily make the meetings, pay the $20 “normal” fee (or more accurately the “make sure you do me a favor with a Waterfront Construction Contract fee”), and make it home in time for supper.

So by default these organizations bias their votes, and endorsements, to the very wealthy. For instance, we have approximately 800 homeless people in Bellingham and Whatcom County. A simple luxury tax would take care of the issue. We have tons of millionaires in Bellingham, especially in Fairhaven. Still a candidate like Todd Donovan will support new roads for bicycles before a luxury tax, because growing a spine and doing the right thing would probably cost him the endorsement. So all I’m saying is to read between the lines. Candidates with endorsements are often bought, like Todd Donovan. He was directly asked this question recently and tried to tell poor people essentially to shut up because they don’t pay a lot in taxes. He was more business like about it, but that was the gist.

To recap our taxes in Bellingham,

  1. Our homes just went up in value. So we paid higher property tax than ever before. This is part of the real-estate scam. It works out well because the govenrment can bring in more money while not raising the percentage of the tax. So they can say they didn’t raise the tax even though you’re paying more. Again, that’s what we call a scam.
  2. We have almost 9% sales tax.
  3. We have some special taxes.
  4. We legalized marijuana recently, meaning that we have about $70 million extra in taxes earmarked for healthcare but the government always tells us that we’re out of money.
  5. There have been many “voluntary” tax increases. They should not be considered coluntary because they included issues like replacing bad fire equipment that the city didn’t budget for. So the choice was, “do you want to pay an extra tax and have a reliable fire truck, or not.” They did the same thing with educational technologies.
  6. The police purchased a $400,000 tank in the midst of all of this. They sold our snow plows because they said we don’t need to keep specialized equipment around. I guess a tank doesn’t count.

… Sadly, the list goes on, but you get the picture. We pay more all of the time and they do less with it.

Flint Michigan Water Crisis Still Not Fixed

Isn’t Neo Classical-capitalism great? (said sarcastically) After your government, in association with corporations, totally fucks your town up they can always say that it just simply costs to much to fix the problems they created.

On Tuesday the Flint Water Crisis will reach its third year. The mayor of Flint says it might cost as much as $1.5 Billion to fix, others say as “little” as $216 Million. So is their plan to not fix it and have the people drink poisoned water forever? I mean they’re poor people after all, and need to die of horrible, preventable conditions right? They wouldn’t be poor if they followed the Neo-Classical Capitalist plan like they were told to right?

Before switching to their old infrastructure the people of Flint used to get clean water from Detroit, which they can switch back to, btw. Anyway, so what, in relation to cost? This is the richest country in the world and no one should have to drink poisoned water here. Investments in infrastructure are almost always no-brainer investments and cost virtually nothing in the long run. Don’t we have pride in anything that we do? Clean water is the most important resource that there is. Oh, and of course none of the people that caused the problem are in jail. In fact, the police are beating people up, at church town halls, on their behalf.

To put things into perspective.

The MOAB that Trump’s cronies dropped in Syria cost $16 billion Dollars. So about 10 times as much as the highest estimate to fix Flint’s water problem would be. This estimate comes from their shitty mayor, so it’s probably high.

A Single F-22 Raptor Costs $137 Million Dollars. So 2 of those would equal a permanent fix for Flint’s water problem.

The tanks that your local police departments are buying to try and supress you when you speak out against bullshit like this cost about $500,000 each. So enough to provide safe water for a few months to Flint residents while a solution is being worked on.

The list goes on, but the point is that while your government is telling you they can’t afford to take care of you, improve your quality of life, etc. they certainly are buying the weapons they need to control you. Oh, and they’re incompetence is leading to poisoning you too, on behalf of big corporations in most cases.

 

The Situation in Syria

So, before I say anything else I just want to say that this latest chemical weapons attack in Syria is unacceptable and truly horrific. So, the real question to me is not should the US (along with allies like France and England this time) respond it’s would we be in this situation if Hillary Clinton was president? Sure, the situation is worse with Trump at the helm. For example Trump is not going to make sure who was really responsible, even though there is a really good chance that it was the Russians. The overall point I want to make here is that we’d be in about the same situation if Hillary Clinton was at the helm too. Remember, this all started under the Obama administration, and Clinton wanted to hand out no-fly zones like they were lollipops at the bank. She even talked about it during her campaign. One of the reasons I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either Clinton or Trump was that I thought they would both get us involved in World War III via their mishandling of the Syrian situation or via backing up the bloodthirsty Israeli government (remember we’ve helped arm Israel to the point that almost no nation can stand against them in their region, shhhh). Well, here we are. I hope I’m wrong. The overall problem is what it’s been for the last 70 years. We allow money and corporations to decide who our politicians will be, meaning we never really have competent leadership that cares about average people. Time to replace 90% of our politicians before it’s too late. Just look at how many Democrats can’t wait to support Trump before we’re even 100% sure who launched the weapons. Everyone wants to pull the trigger before we even know where to point the gun. That’s because 90% of our corporate owned politicians are too fucking stupid to make good decisions and even if they understood the situation they wouldn’t care. It’s your sons and daughters they’ll be sending into harms way, not their own and they consider them disposable. So from their standpoint, so what if they make a mistake, it’s no skin off of their teeth. It’s just another day in the Corporate States of Perpetual Warfare.

The Police, Armed for War with the Citizens?

So I wasn’t in any trouble, but I got to go to our local police station today and check out their gear. Again, I think most cops are good people that are trying to do right by their communities, but when there is a problem, it can only be amplified by the unnecessary availability of gear that is best left for use in warfare. Which is a lot of what I saw today.

Obviously I’m focusing on Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County, but sadly my research shows that other cities police forces are even more armed than my own. Here’s a list of what I saw today.

  1. The cops have at least 20 cars and SUVs even though this is a medium sized city. Most have shotgun mounts. All are big and most very new. (Supposedly our city is out of money and can’t help the homeless or plow the roads, remember?) They also have some cool BMW motorcycles.
  2.  They have a light armored vehicle they call the BearCat, with gear included a public records request revealed that they spent $224,000 in 2008, $12,000 for maintenance since and the armaments for the vehicle bring the total to about $260,000. It was deployed once to subdue a riot at WWU, but even that use was unnecessary. Although the police followed proper procedure, before using the vehicle, it should be noted that they did not need a tank to deploy tear gas, etc. It also gets really shitty gas mileage. So bad that a motorcyclist could probably run a Yamaha R6 off of the fumes that the BearCat spits out.
  3. Each officer carries a high voltage taser with a range of 25 feet (makes you wonder why they shoot so many people and why they did so recently here), a gun (9mm I believe), at least 2 magazines of bullets (so at least 30 rounds of ammo plus what’s in the gun), pepper spray (I’m fine with this and the taser), body armor (ok good idea), and the cars and BearCats have shotguns available in them (some of them non-lethal bean bag shotguns). In short the cops are better equipped to pacify their citizens than most WWII commandos were while fighting the Nazi’s.

So it makes you wonder. Why do they keep telling us they’re out of money? In Bellingham we found enough money to arm our police for all out warfare with the citizens, we found 30.3 million dollars to give to a single construction company for our Simpsons Springfield Monorail Project (aka the Waterfront Project), we will dump at least an additional $10 million in through the greenways bill for the same project, but we just can’t help out the homeless.

Here’s why. The police are here to protect you, but their order of priority starts with the president and works its way down. So they’re really here to protect the mayor, her corrupt friends, their corrupt friends, and so on and so forth, whether they know it or not. The citizens, especially the poor citizens, can pretty easily get shot just for being a nuisance. Although the recent suspect shooting in Bellingham appears to have been handled correctly, according to the law anyway, one does wonder how a guy with a knife was a threat to an officer with a taser that had a 25 foot range who also has been trained in hand to hand fighting and was wearing a knife resistant vest. Oh yeah, and had backup and a partner. I’m not saying the officer should have put his life at risk in anyway, but it seems like they had more options than shooting the guy. At the same time, the guy was a total scum that stabbed 2 people, so in some ways, whatever.

A Picture of the Ferndale Police Tank that Mayor Linville refers to, “as something they don’t have to use, but just another tool.” Perhaps like she is. Anyway, does anyone really think that the government buys this kind of stuff to NOT use it? It’s not a spade vs. flat shovel, or a new kind of pruning shear, it’s a God Damned TANK! The police are supposed to be citizens enforcing the law. How many other citizens do you know that have tanks in their garage? This is unacceptable. I should note that we have these expensive, draconian, vehicles at the expense of taking care of our schools, our infrastructure, the homeless, and just about everything else the poor and middle class rely on. We also pay our cops and firefighters like shit and even had to have an emergency bond measure to buy a new firetruck, because our government is that incompetent. We pay almost 9% sales tax, and high property tax. The problem isn’t that they don’t have enough money, so something else must be going on.

ferndale tank

A picture of the City of Bellingham’s Light Tank

A bit more from an older article:

https://sweeneypolitics.com/2015/02/15/interviewing-mayor-kelli-linville/