Letter to Senator Warren: Enough is NOT Enough

We need more from you, Senator


Recently, Senator Warren publicly criticized President Obama’s  appointment for Treasury Department Position. In a HuffPost Blog titled “Enough is Enough: The President’s Latest Wall Street Nominee,” Warren blasted the appointee, Antonio Weiss, for what she characterized as inadequately experienced for the specific role played by the position he will fill, and his own history of work on corporate inversions while in his current position as the head of global investment banking for the supersize international financial advisory and asset management firm, Lazard.

Some “centrist” liberals (ahem), and Democratic Party establishmentarians have criticized Warren for taking gratuitous shots at a “qualified” candidate at a time when she should be supporting the President, not engaging in an open and unnecessary feud with him.  Those criticisms of Warren are foolishly naïve about what’s involved here.

However, real progressives have some reason to also be critical of the otherwise wonderful Senator.  Here, I address Senator Warren with my concerns and a few questions:


Dear Senator Elizabeth Warren,

Respectfully, because I and many others strongly agree with your specific objection to this appointment (Antonio Weiss to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department) and, more importantly, with your more general frustration at the influence of Wall Street in the Democratic Party (” …the larger, more general issue of Wall Street executives dominating the Obama administration, as well as the Democratic Party’s, overall economic policymaking apparatus”) I feel it is important to ask you directly about your support for Hillary Clinton as our party’s nominee for 2016:

Based on Secretary Clinton’s well-known and documented close political and fundraising ties to Wall Street and her notable lack of significant work on or support for regulation of the financial sector or consumer credit protections, what assures you that a Clinton administration would be any better than the current administration on these sorts of appointments or championing these issues?

We know Ms. Clinton will be a strong advocate on issues of health care, medicare, minimum wage, etc., but on those issues that have to do with your own stance against a system that is, in your words, “rigged” against ordinary, working class people, how would a Clinton candidacy–or Ms Clinton’s leadership of the Democratic Party–address your stated concern that too often of our party has played its own supporting role by failing to “unrig” the system?

Many of us feel that a Clinton candidacy would fail to place these sorts of issues squarely at the center of the campaign or the policy agenda debate of 2016. Are we wrong to be concerned, Senator Warren? If so, how so?

Progressives respect and admire your work and commitment and would appreciate a direct response to our concerns about a Hillary Clinton campaign and presidency.

Thank You,

Mr. Andashes

PS: Keep up your great work!

Xfinite Bullshit: Part 2

Comcast’s Black Hole of Service

Comcast parody logoIn our last episode, Comcast had screwed the pooch on the rollout of its inanely branded X-1 “platform [1] —an overhyped DVR/set-top box so bug infested it should never have made it out of beta phase—and was suffering a shitstorm of complaints about its apparent role in widespread service interruptions.

Today, widespread outages returned to the I-95 corridor from DC to NY.

Comcast outage areas reported by Downdetector.com as of 11 AM, Nov. 19--the time Comcast told its cutomers the issue would be "resolved"...

Comcast outage areas reported by Downdetector.com as of 11 AM, Nov. 19–the time Comcast told its cutomers the issue would be “resolved”…

To review why Comcast’s continuing inability to (1) reliably provide cable and uninterrupted internet service, or (2) properly manage customer service calls and inquiries about interruptions and outages is more than a mere consumer annoyance, in our last posting we outlined five principles:

  1. Cable and especially internet service should be treated as public utilities[2]
  2. Providers enjoy regional monopolies
  3. For folks who telecommute or rely on internet for business need reliable service
  4. Consumers of any product or service must be protected from abuse by businesses who take money but systematically fail to deliver
  5. Internet porn surfers, intellectual property pirates, and Judge Judy addicts have rights too![3]

Let’s add two more items to that list:

  1. Comcast is currently in the midst of a lobbying and PR blitz to win approval for its planned takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC)–the most egregiously monopolistic merger in telecom history[4]
  2. Comcast is the biggest of the mega-predators throwing their weight and muscle around Capitol Hill to block net neutrality legislation.

Thus the cable industry’s biggest oligarch, Comcast, and its ongoing mess of massive, unexplained system outages and failure to provide minimally adequate customer service response is more than an annoyance. It is a huge public interest issue for consumers and taxpayers and a huge potential PR bat with which to bash Comcast’s reptilian brain out.

Telecom regulation is a notoriously hard topic to engage much public interest in. (Admit it: You almost passed out before completely reading the words “telecom regula…THERE! You did it again.  …Yes, you did!  You were practically snoring for a moment there… Now, wipe the drool off your chin, sit up straight and pay attention…) But every broadband user can relate to their anger over expensive yet shitty service they already receive.

In that context, the notion that we would go ahead and allow the cable industry to further consolidate its unaccountable hold over something so many people rely on so heavily in their day-to-day activities is a palpable public issue. One that can be easily grasped by anyone who has tried to speak to a cable company “customer service” representative about a service or billing issue.

So, seriously now…

If you are a Comcast customer, CONTACT THE FCC and FILE A COMPLAINT about Comcast’s poor record of service (Link to FCC Consumer Complaints: http://goo.gl) Tell them they need to investigate why Comcast charges money for services it cannot reliably provide and yet maintains regional cable monopoly status in communities across the country. (For example, though Cox is cheaper and provides more reliable service and does far better in customer service surveys, people in my community cannot switch to Cox because Comcast has an exclusive monopoly in our area.)

CONTACT CONGRESS AND TELL THEM TO END REGIONAL CABLE MONOPOLIES! Use Comcast’s execrable record to illustrate the danger of further market concentration.  Express outrage that Comcast and TWC would try to further dominate the broadband market even while they provide unacceptably expensive and poor service to their customers. INSIST THAT YOUR SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY.

Use the FCC PUBLIC COMMENT PROCESS to oppose the COMCAST-TWC merger and to support “PROTECTING AND PROMOTING THE OPEN INTERNET” (this is the FCC’s official title for “Net Neutrality” rules) [5]

The FCC makes it very easy to engage in the public comment process for pending rule changes and cases:  Simply go to the FCC ‘s “Send Us Your Comments Page” where you will find a list of proceedings.  Every proceeding open for public comment is listed with a short title and proceeding number.[6]  The proceeding number for the proposed Comcast-TWC merger is 14-57; the number for the “Open Internet” proceeding is 14-28.  Clicking on the proceeding number takes you to the form for public comment.  If you use this method, the proceeding number will already be entered in the required field. Be sure to fill in all required fields.

REPOST, REBLOG, TWEET, SHAMELESSLY PLAGIARIZE this article everywhere!


NOTES:

[1] Reader: Please add “platform” to “system” and “solution” to your list of bullshit words that will be purged from the approved vocabulary come the revolution. “Gadget” and “gadgetry” will more than adequately serve for the crap that currently gets labeled with these marketing bloat words.

[2] That’s right, Mr. Andashes was a good ten days ahead of Obama’s pronouncement of his identical position on how regulatory agencies and law should treat ISPs and cable providers.  As usual, YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!

[3] GODDAMMIT!

[4] The merger would create a too-big-to-exist communications corporation that would control about 40% of the entire US wired broadband. Adding to the monstrosity of this proposed market concentration is the fact that it would combine the incompetencies of the two worst rated cable/internet service providers in the industry.

[5] If you’re a little sketchy on the Net Neutrality and Open Internet stuff, read up on it in this short FCC Fact Sheet or read this broader article in Wikipedia.

[6] Next time one of your Ayn Rand libertarian fanboy friends starts slobbering on about  the usual litany of reasons private businesses are always better than public/government agencies, ask them  to compare this transparent, accessible avenue to his last attempt to resolve a billing or service issue with a telecom company.  OH, and you can use the same FCC page to easily look up other folks comments on FCC proceedings.  Transparency and access: It’s only a democracy if you USE IT.

Xfinite Bullshit

Comcast parody logoOkay, I know cable and internet service hassles may seem like one of those of pseudoproblems that infuriate overprivileged whiners (OMG Kimberly! Whyyyy are the lines always sooo loooooong at the Galleria on Black Fridaaaaaaayyyyy?) but…

1.) Cable and especially internet service should be treated as public utilities;

2.) Providers enjoy regional monopolies;

3.) For folks who telecommute or rely on internet for business, this is an essential service;

4.) Consumers of any product or service must be protected from abuse by businesses who take money but systematically fail to deliver;

5.) Internet porn surfers, intellectual property pirates, and Judge Judy addicts have rights too, dammit!

Thus the cable industry’s biggest oligarch, Comcast, and its ongoing mess of massive, unexplained system outages and failure to provide customer service response are more than an inconvenient annoyance. This notorious serial mugger of cable consumers is in the middle of a huge shitstorm of complaints about its new cloud-based X1 “platform”[i]—an overhyped DVR/set-top box so bug infested in should never have made it out of beta phase—and its apparent role in widespread service interruptions.

However, this most recent rash of service outages and disruptions extend well beyond what Comcast has only acknowledged as “an issue with X1 services” this past weekend which enraged thousands of Comcast TV cable customers during Sunday football. Thousands more were unable to watch Tuesday night election returns. Numerous independent online outage maps and reports indicate that Comcast is still having rolling interruptions that involve almost every region they serve to one degree or another.

Link to current outage map by downdetector.com: http://goo.gl/cXj5UG

Adding to the fury and outrage of customers posting on the Comcast/Xfinity Facebook page is Comcast’s unwillingness to provide timely, accurate, or adequate information when customers call supposed service and support numbers.

In response to complaints on its Facebook page, Comcast’s last posting on the subject as of 10 PM last night (while independent outage maps were still showing huge area of interrupted service, especially in the Northeast) was this lame shit:

We sincerely apologize for the service issues some of our customers may have experienced. We know our customers value their TV experience and our engineers are working diligently to restore service as quickly as possible.

Really helpful and responsive, assholes. And what’s with the past tense? Outages are still going on. TODAY. Like every other friggin’ day in Comcast’s empire of vassal cable villages. Your service is defined by outages.

And why hasn’t anyone trained your Philippines-based call center operators to offer courteous apologies like the ones you post for anyone who bothers to find your silly corporate Facebook page? Perhaps between sessions devoted to threatening operators who fail to sell cable package upgrades to customers seeking problem resolution you could throw in some actual training on customer service?

As one response put it: “Thank you for your apologies but I would really appreciate not being hung up on 9 times and I still have not spoken to anyone. You’re costumer service is atrocious!!!

So, seriously now…


 

Dear Comcast,

I’m really glad you made boatloads of money on inflated subscription rates.[ii] Congratulations! However, your service sucks ass. Please immediately fire your recently appointed Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, Charlie Herrin (Seriously?  This guy gets paid to suck?  I’ll come there and suck at the job for 50% of Charlie’s compensation package.  Think of how sharp that’ll look at the next meeting of the board!) and recommend defenestration to your CEO, Brian Roberts–he probably has a lot of office windows to choose from.

The FCC and FTC need to investigate why you all charge money for services you cannot reliably provide and yet maintain regional cable monopoly status (fiber-optic and satellite are not competing cable services).

For example, though Cox is cheaper and provides more reliable service and does better with customer response, people in my community cannot switch to Cox because Comcast has an exclusive monopoly in our area.

Bottom line: Quit sucking.

Thanks!

(Comcast CEO eMail: brian_roberts@comcast.com)


 

Dear Comcast Customers,

Congress needs to get on this telecom regulation nightmare immediately. Consumers like you are being abused.

CONTACT FCC AND CONGRESS AND TELL THEM TO INVESTIGATE COMCAST AND END REGIONAL CABLE MONOPOLIES!

In all seriousness, DO IT!

(Link to FCC Consumer Complaints: http://goo.gl/YtGNnX)


[i] Please add “platform” to “system” and “solution” on your list of bullshit words to be purged from the approved vocabulary come the revolution. “Gaget” and “gadgetry” will more than adequately serve for the crap that currently gets labeled with these marketing bloat words.

[ii] Amy Chozick, “Higher Cable Bills Help Comcast Increase Profit by 17%” New York Times, May 1, 2013

Report from Today’s Facebook Seminar on Religion & Catholic Teaching

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…..[breath]…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!


So today’s latest Facebook gathering of academic heavyweights was hosted by Conservative Daily, famous highbrow FB page and esteemed intelligentsia olive grove where the best and brightest minds gather to workout weighty social, political, ethical, and philosophical problems.  CD’s profound opening prompt was this:

Shake-up at the Vatican…

Highest-Ranking American Cardinal Spoke Out About Conservative Views and is Demoted by Pope Francis

And it’s not the first time.


Well, that really started a buzz among the Facebook intelligentsia.

So, here now, without comments, the highlights:

  • James Brandenstein The Pope sometimes sounds like an American Liberal Democrat!
  • Brenda Ross yep…sad
    • Henry Smith American Liberal Democrat = MORON! America spoke on election day and told the liberals to shove it.
    • David Arbuckle He sounds a lot like Jesus. He will die in his sleep unexpectantly.
    • Melissa Sawicki I was weary of him from Day 1: Benedict did not just “step down.” Anyone who believes that also believes Obama is not a Muslim.
    • Dulcie Marshall No, he doesn’t sound like Jesus. He was a radical for his time. This pope is nothing more then a communist…take from those who work and give to those who do not. Jesus spoke against those who were capable of working, yet looked for handouts. This pope is NOT like Jesus. Just sayin…
    • Denise Fouracre “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matt24:24
    • Mary Feddersen Or even a far leftist, progressive! He never speaks clearly! It’s a lot like when Vatican II got hijacked! It’s very confusing times! Jesus was very clear! I don’t understand him at all! Even when others try to explain his meaning, I’m confused! It’s like a lot of double speak! I’ve read several of his homilies many times, & still scratch my head! Cdl. Burke leaves no questions! I get him! It is completely inline with the church teaching! Praying for the Pope & especially for CDL Burke at this difficult time!

     

  • Allison Cady Ambrosio I really don’t like this pope!
  • Casey Duckworth the pope is just a man and he has no say on a person’s soul. he will have to stand before GOD just like everyone else.
  • Lonnie Robbins Never understood the whole papal thing to begin with. The day Christ died and the Vail was torn makes it clear to me that I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. The Pope is just a man nothing more nothing less. If he is leaning toward anything that is not Biblical then his word or thoughts are null and void of meaning.
  • Rick Hudson English Standard Version
    And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Matthew 23:9. Also the head of every man is Christ.
  • Luz Maria Gonzalez-Castillo I’m with Cardinal Burke…he is not afraid to stand on God’s issuance. While Pope Francis is trying to be a people pleaser and conforming to this world, Cardinal Burke reveals biblically based truth…Good for you Cardinal! And Pope, you will be judged by God for misguiding and teaching un-truth…so says the Holy Bible.
  • Mike Sparks This is not a good pope.
  • Danny Lucero Not surprising. If you’re not liberal enough, you will get persecuted.
  • Scott Jackson If God’s word is unchanging, how is the liberal trend justified? Is God the head of the Catholic church, or men with pretty different views and interpretations?
  • Paul LeRoux I’m a practicing Catholic and this pope has said many things that don’t match the words of Jesus.
  • Ted Platz The false Prophet strikes again.
  • Julie Chastain Kee False Prophet. Never call anyone Father except GOD ALMIGHTYSAVE JESUS CHRIST because the FATHER SON HOLY SPIRIT are one!!! John 3:16 …
  • Kathy Wetter Cohn Wolf in sheeps clothing
    • Tiffani Mills Matthews 7:15. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

     

  • Charlie L Miller I think the Pope has forgotten the bible.

     

  • Mike Goodwin This liberal pope is a dope!!!!
  • Jennifer MacTavish Cassey Scary stuff going on…. Jesus is coming back!
  • Monique Parker Lacey The Catholic Church continues to be in a sad state of affairs.
  • Jason Hoffman So ridiculous. He’s standing up for the morals and traditions that this liberal Argentinian pope seems intent on destroying so they demote him to an essentially useless job. This is what our world has become.#TheEndIsNear
  • Donna D. Kemp I do not believe history will be kimd to this Pope
  • Kathi McCarty I don’t think it’s Catholic bashing, just telling the truth.
  • Sabrina Parrish Massie I’m not Catholic – but, guys.. Y’all might wanna dump this dope!
  • Debi Becker RN Pope.. not the best.. is he going to destroy his religion like Obama is doing to America?
    • Aggie Casavant The Bible talks about the Anti-Christ….who is going to be a political leader….then it tlka about a religious leader who is going to work hand in hand with him…. this Francis guy is da man!!!

     

  • Jose D. Guerrero Let me get this straight pedophiles got promoted and moved around while he gets demoted.
  • Edward Mike Conners Is this Pope a Communist?
  • Kam Patterson This one isn’t a POPE pope.Hopefully we get a real one soon.
  • Christina Jasnos Mancini Catholic bashing? Catholics should be more concerned about the liberal leanings of this pope than anybody else. If there is immutable truth (and I am convinced there is), no pope can change that truth at his whim, and no pope should be demoting anybody who disagrees with his liberalization.
  • Mike Rehfeldt The evil web of Obama has a long reach, eh!
  • Susan Westberg Never trust a Jesuit.
  • Jack Lester He is a socialist.

Pope Francis: False prophet, corrupter of the faith, and quite possibly…A LIBERAL!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Economist sez “Forget the 1%”

“It is the 0.01% who are really getting ahead in America”…

economist 1 percenter chart

The 16,000 families making up the richest 0.01%, with an average net worth of $371m, now control 11.2% of total wealth—back to the 1916 share, which is the highest on record. Those down the distribution have not done quite so well: the top 0.1% (consisting of 160,000 families worth $73m on average) hold 22% of America’s wealth, just shy of the 1929 peak—and exactly the same share as the bottom 90% of the population. 

The Economist

November 8, 2014

Of course, red-blooded conservative real Americans can just ignore this propaganda shit.  It’s something from “The Economist” which has got to be just some lefty socialist rag…

Wait…what? Oh.

Yeah, but they’re from England. Buncha homos!

Free exchange: Forget the 1% | The Economist.

Voices from Solitary: Is “Torture” Too Strong of a Word? | Solitary Watch

“ACLU estimates over 80,000 American inmates in solitary confinement…”

via Voices from Solitary: Is “Torture” Too Strong of a Word? | Solitary Watch.

Pope Francis washes the feet of a prisoner at the Casal Del Marmo Youth Detention Centre during the mass of the Lord's Supper in Rome (Photo: L"osservatore Romano, Getty Images)

Pope Francis washes the feet of a prisoner at the Casal Del Marmo Youth Detention Centre during the mass of the Lord’s Supper in Rome (Photo: L’Osservatore Romano, Getty Images)

22 Years Later: Rage On

For outraged conservatives who are, in fact, the proprietors of the machine, we offer Rage Against Your Machine.

For outraged conservatives who are, in fact, the proprietors of the machine, we offer Rage Against Your Machine.

My daughter just reminded me that Rage Against The Machine’s debut album was released 22 years ago today.

Though it would take me a few years for me to decide whether Zack and the boys’ social and political commentary were a mere pose or should be taken seriously (I ultimately decided YES, very), I was immediately sold on the music and rage. It inspired a third wave renewal of my interest and passion for the then-current music scene which I was quickly losing (as the promise of West Coast alternative-independent punk-inflected metal of the early Sub Pop label in Seattle and Triple X Records in L.A. was becoming inexorably co-opted, tamed for commerce, and market-packaged as major label “grunge” for Stone Temple Pilots fans who preferred to have their “alternative” music served predictable).

The first time I heard it, “Killing in the Name” gobsmacked a huge grin on my face and immediately reignited my interest in what the young folks were listening to these days (I was a very jaded 35 at the time).

You have to admit, as a yawp of identity and resistance, RATM’s “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” is way more significant (and fun) than my generation’s Network inspired “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”?

Though Paddy Chayefsky’s movie is satire, more than a few people thought Howard Beale’s “mad as hell” speech spoke to an important unexpressed rage in the American public. Indeed, as recently as a month ago, Republic Broadcasting Network’s Dave Hodges, host of “The Common Sense Show” (audience size ~43–maybe), said of the “mad as hell” quote: “Look in the mirror, America, you are Howard Beale and it is time to get as mad as hell…

Please.

The “mad as hell” oath (taken seriously, as Hodges would have it) is the miserable whine of a privileged middle class that wants all the issues, critiques, and taxes made to disappear so they can get back to the comforts of mindless, guilt-free uberconsumption.

“Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” is a truth-to-power declaration of independence. A battle cry against injustice. White teabaggers toting open-carry permitted pistols and long guns from their fully loaded Ram pickups to the local DQ talk shit about being mad as hell. (About what, asshole?)

Every constituency of the progressive cause can authentically identify with Rage’s rage—women burdened with workplace discrimination and the reproductive surveillance state, workers whose collective bargaining rights and day-to-day dignity have been nullified by the corporate fascist state, LGBT people who must beg pardon for the sake of love and sex, all who are marginalized and oppressed by dint of caste, class, color, or transgression against the capricious tides of privileged norms and tastes can authentically (and joyfully) rage at full scream along with Zack: FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!

Others must modify the sentiment as per the graphic above.