Archive for the 'Money' Category

How Windstream Business makes sure they are the WORST in customer service.

You hate Comcast customer service?  Think the former Time Warner was evil to do business with?  Ha! Amateurs.  Windstream Business has engineered a way to make sure there is no direct customer service conduit available.  They funnel everything through a single 800 technical support number.  That magical number is 1.800.600.5050.  If you or ever unfortunate enough to dial this number, plan for suicidal tendencies.

This time I dialed and was greeted with “Thank you for calling Windstream Business” then dead air for a total of 2 minutes and 47 seconds according to the call timer on my phone.  Once you finally reach the automated attendant you get four options (verbatim as of the date of this posting):

  1. “If you are experiencing down or bouncing issue on T1 or DS3 services press 1”
  2. “an issue with data services such as Internet, Ethernet, MPLS or other managed services press 2”
  3. “If you are having trouble with POTS or local lines press 3”
  4. “Experiencing voice relate issues with voice services such as Voice over IP press 4”

Notice none of these options are for customer care or billing.  None.  They all transfer to “technical support”.  Once you get one of these technical support representatives they will be very aggravated they have to handle a billing call because apparently the hand off to “customer care” is a painful process for them.   They insist they must stay on the line because the possibility of getting cut off is a good bet.  Then you wait 15-20 minutes.  Once connected to customer care I voiced my complaint about the lack of number straight to them, having to go through technical support.  My customer care representative said “it says for customer care use option 3”.  Odd.  I played the greeting I dialed into again:

3. “If you are having trouble with POTS or local lines press 3”.

I am not having a problem with POTS or local lines.  I have a problem with bills you are sending me for data services that were turned down in April.  This has precisely ZERO to do with POTS and local lines.

Windstream cut off some of our business services that we discontinued in April 2016.  We are still getting bills for these accounts in August.  They are disputing we never formally disconnected the account through our account rep, supposedly a person named Byron Ball.  I was insured by “customer care” that my request for Byron Ball to contact us has been escalated.  Despite several emails, no Byron Ball.  Some at Windstream have told me he doesn’t work their anymore.  Now they are telling me he does and will be giving me his bosses information.

Meanwhile they gave me Byron Balls bosses number, Bryon Waters.  Now I get to call him and see what the excuses are.  Chances I’m going to ever got to speak to Mr. Bryon Waters are damn near zero since all of this is just stonewalling by Windstream.  Their goal is to get legally binding contracts signed to initiate billing and then forgo any semblance of customer care or account management.

If anyone thought Windstream might be better at business services than they are residential services, for which they’ve lost lawsuits, think again.  This company is the worst in telecom.  Do not make the mistake we did and select Windstream or their former Paetec as a carrier.  Pay more to AT&T or Time Warner Telcom.  They suck too but at least you get someone to talk to about the problems.  What Windstream is doing deserves an FCC investigation, except the FCC is padded with government insiders.  Another perk of the marriage between government and business.  It’s not just residential consumers getting screwed, it’s businesses across America too.   These corporations do not discriminate in who they rip off.

 

 

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Can all sides finally admit Obamacare is a complete failure?

To argue otherwise is to claim that math no longer works.  In 2009, the President stated, “We agree on reforms that will finally reduce the costs of health care. Families will save on their premiums; businesses that will see their costs rise if we do nothing will save money now and in the future […] whatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill.”

Let’s examine all elements of this statement:

“We agree on reforms that will finally reduce the costs of health care”

No.  The cost of health care has continued to rise at 8 times the rate of inflation since the ACA was passed 5 years ago.  This was obvious and predicted by almost all economists who noted the ACA did precisely nothing the reduce or control the cost of health care delivery, services and medication.  No shock at all provider costs did not go down.

“Families will save on their premiums”

Families are paying higher premiums now, some exponentially higher than when the insurance companies drafted the ACA for Rham Emanuel.  Were you one of those stupid enough to believe the industry would draft legislation to actually reduce premiums while having to sign up sick people with preexisting conditions?

“businesses that will see their costs rise if we do nothing will save money now and in the future”

Um, nope.  Businesses, especially small businesses have been crippled by the rise in health care expenditures and coverage.  Know what businesses are really taking a hit?  Health insurance companies!

“whatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill.”

Bullshit.  What elements of this corporate sponsored mandate to buy their private market product has done a single thing to reduce the cost for families, businesses and government?  This is a bill written by an industry that still can’t make money off it.  United Healthcare is pulling out of the exchange because even with subsidies they can’t make the accounting work.

There was only ever one solution and the anti-government crowd can’t stand it, single payer.  There’s a reason it’s the solution the rest of the industrialized world has settled on and it’s not because America’s just so much smarter than all other nations and they just don’t get it.  It’s because they had accountants and actuaries do the math then realized for profit healthcare is a farce wrapped in a lie.  An immoral farce.  Instead we coddle obstinate, introverted people afraid of change.  People who still compare single payer to the VA when the two couldn’t be more different.  They never compare it to Medicare, the socialized medical system in the US that is somewhat functional.

It’s time we call Obamacare the failure that it is and call Hillary Clinton a failure for preaching more of the same.  Her love for all things Obama will be her undoing because to put it mildly, the man just got it wrong.  He won’t admit his legacy legislation is a piece of shit.  He’ll be talking about his ACA achievement on his death bed… while millions of Americans sacrifice their tax returns to the IRS because the fines will be less than the extreme cost of coverage with high deductibles in this failing system of mandated, employer based and private market health insurance.

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The greatest threat the United States is facing is our growing, willful ignorance.

The greatest threat the United states faces is our growing level of willful ignorance and anti-intellectualism.  When the majority of those who consider themselves educated in a culture can tell you who won entertainment awards but cannot tell you the names of our representing foreign heads of state are or details about current world affairs such a culture, society or nation will not survive.

This is why our children will not know the United States the nation we remember.  To an extent this has nothing to do with politicians, monied interests or corporations.  It has to do with the dumbing down of society to an ignorant culture valuing entertainment over education and complex thought.  American’s, as a majority are simply lazy and saturate ourselves in misinformation to justify it.

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Sorry to say, Americans lack common courtesy and empathy.

In 1795, an immigrant complained that “civility cannot be purchased from Americans on any terms; they seem to think it is incompatible with freedom”.  – John F. Kasson

Kasson nailed it over 200 years ago and his message applies today more than ever.  In the rampant, ideologically “patriotic” quest for individualism America has really become a nation of “me time”, “all about me” and “what about me”?  Zero courtesy for others.  Worse, this individualism and lack of respect for others is embraced and promoted by certain ideological groups in the United States.  I owe no one anything.  That is the lame, narcissistic position now embraced by many Americans.

Everyone has an example: the lazy, slow moving women in the check out line taking YOUR time, not hers.  The guy who leaves his car at the crowded pumps so he can spend 20 minutes shopping in the convenience store.  Hell, everyone knows the jackass reducing the flow of traffic because of exercising their “right” to be in the wrong lane.  Americans lack of respect for others might be at an all time high.

At one time in history this type of discourteous behavior created embarrassment, scorn from the community and local society.   I’m embarrassed for them.   I won’t even get into the misuse and tangled use of terms like “socialist” when applied to those who point out you can’t infringe upon the rights of others to exercise your own.  I’m also embarrassed by how across the American landscape people have become so self-absorbed in general.  You are not going to be famous.  You are not as special to society as you believe.  You might be reading this blog and I don’t even know your name, never will.  That is how truly insignificant most of us are.  Go jump from the bow of a ship into the open ocean.  Drive into a class 5 tornado.  Get back to us with your delusions of grandeur and let us know how much material wealth and self image did to save you.  Luckily we will be spared such narrative for despite your perceived invincibility, you are human.  In certain circumstances you will be humbled to death without help from others.

Yet in most American’s minds we are special.  People look towards us because we are wonderful.  We’re Americans, the whole world is filled with envy, or so I’m told.  Most Americans current moment and activity is all they are worried about so hell, it’s all the world should be worried about right?  Because it’s your world.  Um, no dipshit, it’s our world.  Many could do themselves some good by traveling outside their own mental cocoon, usually built as a security blanket, and realize they live and move among others.  Other people who don’t want to wait on you.  Other people who’s time you are wasting.  No, do not “take your time”.  Hurry the fuck up.  Be efficient in your public activities.  Politely and courteously get out of the path of others.

Also stop pretending their is no community.  Margret Thatcher lied.  It’s all around you.  Those people waiting behind you at the checkout line while you dick around, consuming their time – they are part of your community.  Yes you have a right to travel 5MPH under the limit in the slow lane.  I have a right to flip you off and call you a discourteous asshole when you earn it.  Indeed I believe the right many Americans now exercise the most is the right to be a self absorbed asshole…. with a selfie stick.

This all comes down to empathy, (n) “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.  A definition Americans could stand to learn.  Too many now mistakenly think the word empathy is interchangeable with the word pussy.   It is not.  Empathy purveys strength.  If you don’t understand that you have some work to do on your social skills.

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I endured Wal-Mart hell for the fist time in year. Dear God why?

Went to Wal-Mart for the first time in over a year to pick up prints from the photo lab I needed in a hurry.  The only woman covering the photo and electronics area was a mother they won’t let off until 7 PM.  Her kids flight leaves at 5 PM so she won’t see them today.  This so a couple of other people could be off today, who are not mothers.

When I told someone this story I said “This is why I don’t spend money at Wal-mart” they replied, almost predictably, “Then she wouldn’t have any job”.  Way to surface dwell brain fodder.  Don’t spend any energy thinking anything through.  Wouldn’t want ya to throw a spark and hurt yourself.

No, she wouldn’t have that job.  Perhaps she would have a better paying full time job at one of the 1.9 million small, local retailers Wal-mart drove out in the name of lame ass “Always low prices, always”.  Wal-Mart and other big box hell stores are America’s punishment for lusting over cheap shit, refusing to acknowledge any real value or quality in the cost of goods.  Enjoy your Pakistani-Chinese made plastic.  All you can afford?  Ask yourself why that is.  Think it through including the personal accountability part.

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America Embraced 21st Century Lazy

American’s like to project. Too many now blame others for their own failings. Taxes too high? It’s the “illegal’s” fault. Lost your job? It’s those God forsaken minorities. My own father was a projector for a long time. Every problem in his world came down to Muslims, Jews and Blacks. He wasn’t afraid to let us know it. He’s toned down and I don’t know if this is because of social acceptance diminishing for blatant racial rants or if his position has really changed. Regardless, his past behavior is a great example of how unaccountable so many American’s have become for their own failures.

Never mind he lost a job when I was thirteen and NEVER really went back to work until recently. We lived off my moms income as a nurse. He dabbled in real estate, an endeavor that might have lost more money than it ever made. To ask him, the lack of opportunity and pay he faced came down to Muslims and his claim they “can’t be trusted”. I trust every Muslim I’ve ever met. Of course, unlike the conservative fear mongering implies, they are not members of ISIS here to perform covert terrorist operations on the US. They are here to do things like raise families and source cheap textiles from overseas, which may be the most threatening thing they do to America.

I reflect on the 80’s and 90’s. Yep we wore disturbing clothes, Pana D’or Parachute Pants happened to hold a level of awesome unmatched by any 2000 era article of clothing, but we were a nation of high physical standards, “No Fat Chicks” and embraced fitness. Flash forward 2015: American’s justify “Plus Size” as the new normal. Apparently so many men have gotten fat they can’t imagine “No Fat Chicks”. But that doesn’t mean we’ve avoided double standards. Not by a damn mile. American’s make sure it’s understood that while we actually produce less we will tout “hard work” as the reason for success. Never mind that what we are “producing” is phantom bullshit thanks to the “investment” or “ownership” economy. All those “hard workers” watching money compile on computer screens. They must be too sore to get out of bed the next morning.

Meanwhile, as usual the people actually doing work continue to lose money and spending power. We’ve given up on higher standards. We don’t want to offend. Great. Now we are just a bunch of lushes making sure laws can be passed to keep the laziest the wealthiest… “Work Smarter, not harder”? WHAT THE FUCK EVER. How about produce an actual damn result besides money in your personal bank account. We must stop measuring accomplishment by monetary gain because it’s now a piss poor indicator of what a person’s actually accomplished.  Some of the dumbest, laziest people in society are the wealthiest.

I will judge a person by the contents that make up their character, not giving one turd about anyone’s concern that I do it.  So if you’re a fat, lazy, non productive ass wipe just trying to make it through your day to your next beer and eventual paycheck don’t expect to be treated by me as anymore than that. In particular I think of fat hillbillies. American’s embrace these losers because they are “Good ‘ol boys” representative of “America values”. So “American Values” are now…

  1. Skoal dripping from a beard.
  2. A lack of desire or ability to shave that beard.
  3. A shotgun rack in a gas guzzling, “coal rolling” pickup.
  4. An obesity fetish.
  5. A fat partner so neither feels bad about being fat.
  6. Social acceptance of your “plus size” ass.
  7. All the sugar than can be crammed into a human body without causing immediate death.
  8. A healthy dose of alcoholism to destroy any memory or regret should the denial fade.

Hillbillies aren’t cool.  Thugs aren’t cool.  Fat chicks aren’t cool.  The decision to embrace them because you are one isn’t cool.  It’s embarrassing for a country to denounce health, the environment and intellectualism as pretentious and arrogant while embracing bad lifestyle decisions.  That’s where we are.  Simpler, easier, lazier and dumber… “Don’t tread on me”!  Yep, it’s your right to be a fat, uneducated hick or wannabe gangsta.  Expect to be treated like one.  All in the name of “simple folk”.  Ya, you’re fucking simple alright.  Too simple to understand or even try to comprehend the problem: Fat, lazy people in denial.  Now, get mad and blame Obama, minorities, gays, Benghazi, gland problems or whatever fuels your denial.  But for the sake of Buddha don’t take any personal accountability for your own failures.  Not your fault right?  “Land of the free” and therefore home of the under paid, heavily armed, uneducated, lazy and fat people.  These are the freedoms you choose to embrace over the last 20 years?  And yet we argue over what went wrong.  Apathy rules!

 

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The Republican Response

America now ranks poorly on a host of social issues be it…

  • The percentage of children growing up in poverty,
  • Inequality in wages,
  • Percentage of the population locked up in prison,
  • School test scores in math and science,
  • Number of medical caused bankruptcies.

The Republican response:

  • Reduce social safety nets to make sure more children are in poverty,
  • Reduce wages or keep them stagnant, (AKA “right to work”)
  • Lock up more people and execute more people in a wildly inequitable and corrupt justice system padding a for profit prison industry,
  • Denounce science and math as unGodly,
  • Status quot or worse, pushing more costs of healthcare on to consumers.

So basically their response is let’s fix problems by creating more of the same.  They’ll just say Obama is bad, Muslims are evil and coming to kill you so many fearful minions will fall behind them, guns and bibles at the ready.

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The GOP Hypocrisy Translator

  1. “Right to Work” = Right to Fire anyone without consequence.
  2. “Pro Life” = Pro birth, let the unwanted baby fend for its future.
  3. “Abstinence” = Unwed conservative daughters who are privy to immaculate conception and young conservative males without sex drive who immaculate them.
  4. “Freedom of Religion” = Freedom to file a lawsuit when Evangelicals can’t force religious upon anyone they want, anywhere they want.  Also the freedom to judge and discriminate against anyone who is not a proclaimed Christian.
  5. “Family Values” = Destroying any family that does not conform to right wing values.  These include interracial families, immigrants and gay parents. Note: “family values” can only be emphasized from a main stream media soapbox when a Republican finalizes his or her third divorce.
  6. “Privatization” = Legalized corporate theft from unsuspecting, misguided consumers and endless, legal, tax loopholes.
  7. “No Child Left Behind” = Dumb it down… the GOP plan for the future.  Hey, don’t scoff, it’s working …
  8. “Charter Schools” = Sunday School 5 days a week.
  9. “Smaller Government” = Profuse spending and bedroom supervision.
  10. “Trickle Down” = Niagara Up
  11. “Constituents” = Largest corporate campaign donors and favorite lobbyists.

I’m sure I’m missing a few if anyone cares to add in the comments.

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“Emerging Markets” represent America’s race to third world inequality.

If you despise labor movements (unions), fair wages, equitable employment, and all government regulations to these effects then you support the corporate distortion of the free market.  Rejecting labor means you embrace the “global economy” now pushing the American middle class closer to third world conditions with every passing day.  There is no middle ground.  The corporate takeover of government is all about removing any resemblance of a level playing field.

The labor agenda is known:  Increased wages, worker benefits, equitable education, all parts of the plan.  They could stand to calm down on the pension issue.  Overly generous pensions, lifetime free rides were a mistake, many causing great harm but we’ve not even begun to feel the pain from these ill conceived devices now that contributions are decreasing.  What is not widely known is how far corporations have gone with their presumptions that the American consumer base is declining and may soon be forsaken.  The accepted economic phrase is “emerging markets”.  Loosely translated these are markets where consumer spending power is increasing when compared to America.  Wal-Mart wants in.

US corporations thank you for believing their tall tales of how free trade agreements will help American companies export goods.  Never mind we don’t have the public infrastructure, ports, to handle the worlds largest container ships.  Don’t worry about those details.  Who needs taxes for infrastructure for the future when immediate profits can be pocketed now?  Free trade agreements are cheap labor agreements, nothing more or less.  As one international textile executive put it “we chase poverty”, moving mobile sewing operations anywhere the labor is cheapest on the globe.  I personally know a textile executive who stopped in my office on his way from Chicago to negotiate with Butner Federal Prison in NC for cheap manufacturing labor.  Ironically he spotted Bernie Madoff working the cash register in the canteen.

Corporations are not interested in job creation.  No tax break will make them interested in job creation.  Therefore any politician towing their corporate sponsors line is not interested in job creation or wage increases, they are interested in increasing profits for shareholders. <- That’s a period.  The United States is, after all, beholden to the shareholder economy.  The only solution put forward by corporate owned legislators, “lower taxes”, is about the most aggravatingly insane, narrow minded, out of touch one liner that working American’s can be insulted with.  A repeated call for a failed and failing strategy.  But you like it.  Why?  You don’t like being a primary component in the international consumer base?  Think your spending power should rival that of a typical Pakistani seamstress on a loom?  There almost isn’t an answer that can be correlated to prosperity for the American middle class.  Our demise is often blamed on “liberalism” through some abstract, loosely correlated dialog or completely out of touch racist or bigoted rant.  Somehow gays getting married and abortions are the causes of wage stagnation?  Truth is there is no political party beholden to American workers.  Politicians are RIGHTFULLY beholden to their corporate persons.  That’s the way the law is written per the SCOTUS and their Citizen’s United ruling.  Having conquered US politics these corporate persons now have their sights set on bypassing international laws and regulations with TTIP.

Until we can break the invasion of government by Wall Street the American middle class and working poor are at the mercy of an international race to the bottom deigned by corporations and implemented through their political ties and donations.  This means voters must embrace consumer and labor advocates who are prepared to fight for a stakeholder economy and oppose the seemingly national obligation to insure investment gains on Wall Street at all costs.  To do otherwise is to contribute to your own demise and you will not be at peace with the Lick Liberal.

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Worship and Neglect: The Altar of the Dollar

“Our disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of rank, class and the order of society, is, at the same time, the greatest and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.  Wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which should be reserved only for wisdom and virtue; and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often more unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages.” – Adam smith

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