Companies Too Stupid To Do Business With: SUDDENLINK COMMUNICATIONS

This is probably just the first blog entry in a life-time list.  I’ve encountered these businesses before — before the days when a blog was a real thing.

But this is the first time in recent memory.

A company that is, at the corporate policy level, just too stupid to ever do business with: SUDDENLINK COMMUNICATIONS

Companies this stupid are probably also stupid enough to be stupid with their customer service.  Their money management.  Their investment strategies.  Their hiring practices….  Just — too stupid to do business.

Here is what I posted on Facebook earlier today:

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Here’s a shoutout to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Suddenlink-Communications/108269512526744?ref=br_tf
— a “media” company that hasn’t yet made it into the 21st Century to realize that just because I have a Central Time Zone area code on my cell phone, doesn’t necessarily mean I live in the Central Time Zone (brain-dead, sub-zero IQ, anyone?) Phone numbers are PORTABLE these days, Old Timers! Area code is no longer an indicator of where someone lives.

Which means that when your minimum-wage high-school drop-out agents cold call me at 7:04-AM Pacific Time, to try and get me to buy my technology from you — they’re calling somebody outside your little playhouse.

So you are cold calling both a number on the Do-Not-Call List, AND a number firmly in the earlier-than-the-9am-cutoff period for sales calls? Really? To what end? To persuade me to post your un-savvy corporate policies on Facebook? Really? How about a blog post that broadcasts your stupidity? Or a letter to the FCC explaining this all in detail? Or several letters?

Who on earth would buy a tech service from a company that doesn’t grasp the meanings and implications of the technological age?

And yes. I blocked your number. If you change numbers, I will block those as well.

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I returned their phone call — to the Tyler, Texas phone number (and someone named “Sean” identified in the pre-recorded message left on my phone today, 2/4/14 (and previously on 1/27/14) to ask to be removed from their call list — but alas, the phone number actually goes to another recording that “takes messages” for Suddenlink.

Alternately, I went to their website, but no link to be removed from their cold-call advertising list exists there, either.

I have since posted a formal complaint with the FCC.

And no.  I do not want to ever do business with a company this ridiculous.  Ever.  No matter what.  I will stop watching television and live in a cocoon before paying money to an entity with this little grasp of good business practice.  There are too many competent companies out there to suffer fools like this.

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UPDATE, 48 hrs later….

I received a comment (see below) from Suddenlink Communications today — offering to remove me from their call list if only I will contact them.

And therein lies the problem.  I double checked with the FTC this morning and it turns out that yes, I am, and my phone is, registered with the National No Call List — and have been for months.  The registration is up-to-date, and according to the FTC, all telemarketers should have removed that number from their call lists within 30 days of that registration.

What Suddenlink Communications’ comment says is that if I will identify my phone number — they will NOW remove it from their call list; their implication being that simply being on the National No Call List does not, in their corporate opinion, mean anything to them.  At all.

Which means my next complaint is to the FTC <– follow this link to go to the FTC’s complaint page about this kind of unwanted telemarketing activity.

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Re: FB’s policy changes that go into effect 11/27/12:

I hate to be the harbinger of neutral and effect-less news, but unless you’re doing some kind of really hush-hush, time sensitive, top secret, scientifically significant, or otherwise earth-shakeingly meaningful new theoretical construct… then having your daily posts and pics of nieces and their puppies are not the kind of thing that most people are going to lift, steal, publish or otherwise infringe upon. Copyright is for creative works in all media, and original editorial and persuasive writings and images. Copyright is a word used in litigation — and in threats of litigation.

The girl who was photographed (underage) flashing a a crowd in a Mardi Gras parade — and ended up forever pasted on the box of every “Girls Gone Wild” video spit into the sewers of popular American culture — won her case recently, but it had nothing to do with owning her own image — which is one legal issue; or with ownership of the rights (because of copyright) to those photographs — which is another legal issue. She won because she was not old enough to give consent to use those images. So it wasn’t copyright that was at issue, it was that she was under the legal- absolute age to be giving permission to adorn millions of video boxes with her bouncing tits. In effect, that photographer won her case for her before the first pic was ever published — just by taking her picture. Regardless of the photographer’s intent, or who paid what to which — nobody has the right to take a naked child’s photograph and publish it — with the possible exception of National Geographic, and who knows what their legal wavers are like.

Similarly — we have seen time and again that issues of copyright, trademark, and patent are the work of litigators. And for most of us –it really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. It’s only after money is involved — or someone’s pride, or pride in ownership, or pride in creation — that the legalities of creativity are ever a question.

And most of what floats by on Facebook has very little to do with creativity, pride, or $$$. It’s just talk. And sharing ideas. And sharing photos of the cat stranded on top of the ceiling fan.

If you are developing a new, better mousetrap or polio vaccine — then don’t post it. But if you took a really beautiful photo of the sun setting over Madagascar — or even the sun setting over a movie theater playing Madagascar — then what difference does it make if somebody else likes it enough to want to show others?

As far as I am concerned — the more good ideas get passed around and the more humor and clever art that gets shared — the better off we all are. Yes, photographers, writers and artists have to make a living. But the structure of compensation has already changed so much that the old rules are gone forever. Every one of us is now a published photographer, writer, editor, and illustrator. So don’t let people tell you the old copyright rules still work — because they don’t.

Facebook, and 100,000,000 other entities are making up the new rules as we go. And each of these changes to the legal language and policy positions that Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, Amazon, and all the other mass media mods publish is just one more tweak in a very long train of tweaks. Law is a living thing — and we are the cells that combine to make up that entity. So — get used to it. Get over it. Get on with it.


Here’s further reading on the current shifts — well done! :

http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/privacy.asp

My City of Ruins — The City on the Hill

The American Civil War almost ripped this country in two — for what?  Slavery.  The right to own other people as property and buy and sell them on the open market.  The right to force black people to do back breaking work for 20 or more hours a day, so a white family could do — what?  Run for congress?

Things were horrible during Herbert Hoover‘s administration.  He screwed up royally.  People camped in parks — but not by choice, and not to make a political protest.

And the Joseph McCarthy era was as close to hell as I think our democracy has ever come.  People of every walk of life were blacklisted and cheated out of the prime of their lives by McCarthy and his self-righteous ego-narcissism.  “Are you now or have you ever been…” is a question so evil that we all feel it to the bone, nearly 60 years later.

Maybe we need a jolt that comes from despots and devils like the Koch Brothers every now and then to make us appreciate what we’ve got.  Or what we had.  Though I hope and pray constantly that we haven’t woken up on our way to the stocks and gallows.

Maybe it takes something as radically wicked as the corrupt Chief Justice John Roberts (but politically unimpeachable — because the Constitution says so) and his corrupt Supreme Court’s rulings that money is speech, and corporations are people to make us recognize the fragility of real rights — and real wrongs.  Citizens United was no fluke.  It was the canary in the coalmine.

We’ve never yet been subject to “disappearing people” — being secreted away in the night with black bags over their heads.

Unless you count some of the Occupation raids where the press is cordoned off and kept from photographing/reporting police actions.  And raids where police hide or tape over their badge numbers and names.  And unarmed civilians are beaten, fired upon with rubber bullets and other “non lethal rounds” (ask Scott Johnson about those!) pepper sprayed, and hand-cuffed with those zip-ties that do permanent nerve damage to the hands if tightened too much.

Between the unlawful arrest and “raid” practices of the police (including the destruction of personal property) the abridgement of the freedom of the press, free speech, and now, thanks to our bought-and-paid-for-congress, the corrupt Roberts Supreme Court, and sell-out President Obama — the end of due process –>

The once great United States of America which offered a beacon of hope for democracy, and an open door that said “Give us your tired, your poor… hearts yearning to be free…”  Now says,

CLOSED
BANK HOLIDAY
PULL YOURSELF UP BY YOUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS

Instead of leading other nations to democracy and freedom — we just joined the rank and file.  And though they do it with some recognition that nobody is going to like what comes after America, they all say,

“Now you’re just like us.”

The View of OWS and Freedom in America — From Across the Pond

This article is from The Guardian, a print/internet paper from the UK.  It answers the question about how even our closest allies view what is going on in the US right now.

It also represents an outside view of how Wall St. (the money lenders, banks, speculators, and the mulit-national corporations that fuel them) changes everything around us — without getting called on it.

The Truth About Recent Crackdown on Occupy Wall St. (OWS) Across the United States

Here’s the text/content, in case the link or article fail to work:

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The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class’s venality

Brandon Watts lies injured as Occupy Wall Street protesters clash with police in Zuccotti Park

Occupy Wall Street protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with police over the eviction of OWS from Zuccotti Park. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Getty Images

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, “we are going after these scruffy hippies”. Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women’s wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the “scandal” of presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s having been paid $1.8m for a few hours’ “consulting” to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies’ profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists’ privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can’t suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

I Love the Internet Without Shame — and the Physicists Who Created It

In the early 1990s, I worked at the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory outside of Dallas.  The theoretical particle physicists there were pretty sure they were going to change the world as we know it with their new ponderings and explorations into physics.

There really are only a hand full of theorists at this level in the world — and they’re spread out across the continents.  So they took their computers and connected them via existing technology (telephone lines) — so they could stay informed about each others work, questions, ideas, and the projects they worked on.

The giant Hadron collider at CERN may change everything we know about the world.  But the internet has changed everything about the world we may know.

Don’t forget that when you flinch at new capabilities and changes to the gooey interface (Facebook, Twitter, IM, mail,  etc.)  This is all uncharted territory — and experimentation is part of the package.

ON THE EVE OF CHANGE

MY MOST IMPORTANT POST SO FAR ABOUT THE OWS MOVEMENT

I’m going to repost this, because I’m tired of hearing people and corporate media say that nobody in OWS knows what they want. Well, here it is. Here’s the first 2 things I want:
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This is where the reform needs to begin. Just a beginning — but without these 2 changes, hardly any other significant change is possible.

1. Reverse (by what ever means necessary) the Robert’s Supreme Court decision that declared corporations to be people.

Not only is it absolutely stupid on its face — it has allowed corporations both in the US and from abroad to finance candidates for every office in the country, and thus allows them to influence votes, collect favors, and create/influence legislation (and the Supreme Court) in every possible way.

It basically gives permission for business to own the political system.

2. Reverse (by what ever means necessary) the Robert’s Supreme Court decision that declared money to be speech.

Again, this appears to be the work of 4-year-olds — except that would insult 4-year-olds. If you can’t tell the difference between money and speech, then you need to get some psychiatric help.

What this idiotic ruling has gotten us is that it makes it legal for people (including corporations — see #1 above) to put any amount of money
they desire into targeted/machine gun advertising, propaganda, and excellent dinners and vacations for members of Congress and assorted Supreme Court judges — in order to try and persuade them to vote one way or another.

Together, these two Supreme Court decisions have corrupted the Constitution / Bill of Rights, and gutted the morality of the nation’s political system.