Saturday, July 10, 2010

thegrowlingwolf Goes for Verizon's Throat

Foto by tgw, New York City, 2010
Keeping Up With Our Beloved Clintons...for the latest, go to the bottom of the blog
From Sign of the Times:
George Carlin: Who Really Controls America?

God-Damn, Motherfuckin', Corporate, Autocratic Verizon--Nothing but Ma Bell Still Screwin' We the People--Fuck Verizon!! Why? Read On.
I've been having problems with Verizon these days. First off, for twenty years my phone line was filled with static and would sometimes go dead for days at a time. Every time I called Verizon they said first they were checking my line and then they'd report, "We find nothing wrong with your closed." I'd get back to my apartment and the line would be back on. It would work OK for sometimes maybe a month and then one day out of nowhere, the line would go dead and I'd call the sweet young ladies at Verizon repair and they would once again tell me the same old shit and that would be that. Then one day they sent a man out who rewired my incoming line and moved the outlet from one wall to another. Hot damn, I thought, I've got a brand new line, blah, blah, blah, dancing for joy. And then one fine day when I was still rejoicing at how well my phone was working, the line went dead, just like before, and once again I got the sweet lady at repair and she proceeded to check my line and then tell me the same old same old again. When this phone-line fun started Verizon called themselves New York Telephone--then out of nowhere they "merged" with New England Telephone and became NYNEX. And then out of another nowhere one day they announced their new name was Verizon. I guarantee you NYNEX paid millions of dollars for a PR firm to come up with that name. Of course it's a forced union of vertical and horizontal and I suppose stands for vertical--for cell phone service and horizontal--for dial-up lines. With each of these mergers came higher rates. New York Telephone raised the rates; NYNEX raised the rates; and, of course, Verizon has raised rates a couple of times since they took over the enormous profits these telephone companies make since We the People need these phones--Lyndon Johnson declared phones were no longer a luxury (they used to charge a Federal luxury tax on all phone bills) but a necessity. Ironically, though Lyndon lowered our phone bills by taking away the luxury tax but then when his version of the Vietnam War came along, Lyndon put a special Federal tax on our phone bills--a Vietnam War tax that he assured us would come off as soon as that worthless degrading and immoral war was over. Guess what? That tax is still hanging in there on our phone bills.

One day about 6 months ago, my phone went dead and would not come back on no matter what the hell Verizon did or I did. During one phone call, the repair person led me through the way to repair my own phone. I swear. She told me I was responsible for my phone jack and not Verizon. I fiddled with the phone jack, checked wires, and they all were in their right places, and I put it all back together, plugged the phone in, NOTHING. I went out to one of the last pay phones in my neighborhood, luckily one controlled by Verizon, and I demanded they send a repairman out as fast as possible, blah, blah, blah, you know, I railed about how I was losing money by not being able to get on line--believe it or not, I'm still using dial-up in defiance of these big corporate pirate CABLE companies who've commercialized what was originally supposed to be mostly Public Access and Educational channels, free channels, and who have now turned the CABLE into a billion-dollar boondoggle for some of the wealthiest of our conglomerate corporations, the telephone/CABLE companies, including the Big RAT BASTARD company that started it all as Ma Bell, AT&T--American Telephone & Telegraph.

So finally Verizon sends this very nice dude out to check out my phone. The phone is dead as a doorknob when he gets here. He then leads me through the process of how to fix my own phone when he suddenly said, "Your jack is so old we no longer even stock it. Let me put you in a new jack." Which he did. A nice looking one. He hooked the phone up to it, picked up the receiver. NOPE. NOTHING. DEAD.

Now the repairman is scratching his noggin. He's perplexed. Then he digs down deep into his tool bag and he brings out this device that he turns on and starts running it up and down the wire leading in from outside to my jack. The device lights up and makes a humming sound as it traces the signal through the wire. He got almost to the jack and the device was showing the line was hot when at one point the device went dead. He continued on and the device lit back up and hummed. He ran it back up the wire and at that certain point once again the device went dead. "There's your problem," he said. "That wire is broken inside the outside covering. I've never seen this before." He got out his pocket knife and sliced away the outside covering over the inside wire. Sure enough, he found the place where the wire was broken. "There's your problem. The wire was breaking all these years and today it finally broke for good." He then cut the line back to just before the break and rewired the new jack. He plugged in the phone and the dialtone came on loud and hilariously strong.

"How much is this gonna cost me?" I asked prepared to be stunned with a hundred-buck service charge or something that extravagant. He replied, "No charge. This is our fault--this is our line, so no, no charge." He then tried to sell me on FIOS, but I blew him off, though I thanked him immensely as he was leaving. He was a true gentleman.

Ever since my phone line has been working perfectly. Even my dial up has speeded up my computer download times--it's amazing. I've been so satisfied with Verizon of late, even though they've been harassing me with cut-off notices the minute I'm like five days (I swear) late with my payment, which I finally stopped by paying my bill way ahead of the due date now.

So all was harmonious glee between myself and Verizon until I opened my latest bill this morning readying to pay it today. I usually don't go beyond page 3 (the page that lists my charges and my totals), but today page 5 caught my eye--"Need--to--Know Information" it is titled. And the first thing "I need to know" according to Verizon is "Notice of Price Increase." WHAT!!! I read on. "On November 5, 2008, the Verizon Long Distance Basic Rates Plan increased from $3.50 to $5.00...." What this really is is a piece of chisling shit called a Minimum Spend Level on Long Distance charges AT&T first came up with before Verizon. You see when AT&T got out of the dial-up phone business they stayed in control of the Long Distance lines, and advertised their Long Distance Service as being FREE. You were only charged the regular Long Distance rates when you made Long Distance calls. But then AT&T noticed a lot of people weren't using their Long Distance at all--me for one--so they came up with this charge they called a "Minimum Spend Level" on Long Distance. What that meant was they were going to start charging a basic long distance every-month fee of $3.50, whether you made long-distance calls or not. If you used more than $3.50's worth of time on Long Distance calls, they wouldn't charge the fee. I immediately complained. The sweet lady at AT&T (she had a strong Chinese accent) told me to grin and bear it, so I told her to go fuck herself and immediately called Verizon and asked about their Long Distance service. "It's absolutely free, sir." "How about this Minimum Spend Level bullshit AT&T is laying on me for not using Long Distance?" "Oh no sir. Our Long Distance charge only reflects when you've used Long Distance. If you don't use it, there's no charge." I switched my Long Distance from AT&T to Verizon. It wasn't but a few months later when Verizon notified me that they were "having to" implement the same God-damn Minimum Spend Level charge that AT&T had pinned on me, which had caused me to drop them and switch my service to Verizon--and NOW, these sleazies, too, were going to charge me a Basic-Plan Long Distance Minimum Spend fee of $3.50. I bitched and moaned but again was told, sweetly, with an Indian accent this time, "So sorry, but Verizon always correct, sir, not you."

The "Notice Price Increase" goes on in PR gobblygook to explain that due to an error, I may not have been notified of this rate increase but I have been paying it all these many months--so, son of a bitch, Verizon is going to "apply a credit to your bill within 60 days." End of Notice. What the hell does that mean?

The next bunch of items on this "Need--to--Know Information" page are concerned with you if you are currently going through Bankruptcy proceedings; or have Closed Captioning concerns or complaints; then they give you a number to call if you have questions about the Long Distance "Shortfall Charge"--which I suppose is a new tag for the Minimum Spend Level. Then all the way down at the bottom of the first column of this page, up pops this: "Residence Customer Notice for Potential Retail Rate Changes." Ah shit, here it comes...son of a bitch...and they've hidden it down at the bottom of this page. And HOLY SHIT! These sorry pirating bastards are going to ask the New York Public Service Commission (a gathering of politicial hacks and ex-CEO-types who determine what our Public Service Companies can charge in terms of rates) for the following rate changes (they list what looks like 50 line items that are going up on our phone bills), EFFECTIVE August 1, 2010. These sorry bastards already know they're going to get these rate increases.

We the People as a nation are 3 trillion dollars in the hole. Bankruptcies are going through the roof--that's the reason for the Bankruptcy statement on Verizon's "Need--to--Know Information" page. Foreclosures are up. Our economy is losing jobs by the thousands every day. Those that have jobs are having their salaries cut and their pension plans demolished. So hell yes, a hell of a lot of people are paying their phone bills late, or not able to pay them at all. In fact, they can't pay any of their bills on time anymore. Collecting their bills is now a big problem for Verizon.

You would logically reason, even if you're a University of Chicago PhD. in Economics, that the solution to these collecting problems would be to lower the rates--I mean, yes, rip us off with these little convenience bullshit items like call waiting or that kind of "luxury" stuff most phone users don't need at all--but lower the basic rates to levels everyone can afford. But, no, these chisling bastards and their hardnosed crooked bookcooking accountants are busy devising ways to make our phone bills even more expensive. They add on a buck here, a few cents there, and soon they've added on another $10.00 to your bill. Outrageous profits must be maintained! Fuck your customers--they either pay their bills regardless of how high they keep getting raised or let 'em eat phone cake. [You know, if, say, Donald Trump is late with his phone bill (he charges his home phones off onto his business phone accounts), Verizon may send him a reminder, but they're not going to cut the Donald's phone off just because he's overdue with his payment.]

So, hell, my Verizon bill's going up in August. Yours is too. And most of We the People have bigger phone bills than I do. I hate phone companies so much I use my phone as little as possible--except to run 4 computers. I hate to do business with Time-Warner. I mean they're flim-flammer hucksters, too, but, I think I'm forced to leave dial up behind and go moderne--Road Runner here I come. [I found out, we don't have FIOS in our building yet. Doesn't FIOS stand for Fiber Optic Service? I thought decades ago we got fiber optic phone lines here in NYC. I guess I was wrong. Damn, I hate being wrong.]
And Now I See the Reason Why
And then I read this article on the CNET website:

"Verizon Communications saw its first-quarter 2010 earnings fall 29 percent as the company was hit with one-time charges and saw slower subscriber growth.

Profits plunged to $2.28 billion, or 14 cents per share, from $3.21 billion, or 58 cents per share, during the same quarter a year ago, the company reported Thursday. Results for the three-month period included a $970 million charge related to U.S. health care reform.

Verizon previously received a tax-free benefit from the government to subsidize health care costs for retirees, who would otherwise be on a Medicare Part D plan. Under the new legislation, Verizon is no longer be able to deduct that subsidy.

Revenue was up about 1.2 percent to $26.92 billion.

Subscriber growth has slowed in wireless. Verizon reported that it added a total of 1.6 million wireless subscribers in the quarter. Rival AT&T said Wednesday that it added 1.9 million wireless customers."
Poor ole Verison. Their profits are down from 3.21 billion to 2.28 billion (oh boo-hoo-hoo) though Revenue, you must note, was up 1.2 percent to $26.92 billion bucks (again, oh boo-hoo-hoo). Nobody's subscribing to their FIOS packages--and trust me, all these packages are full of fine print with all kinds of "does not include taxes and surcharges and fees"--and "rates may change without notice" (in the very fine print). Verizon's expensive bookcookers and legal staff come up with all these fine-print outs! In the end, they are all controlled on what rates they can charge by state communications commissions--that "New York Public Service Commission" my Verizon bill refers to when they tell me they have asked for rate increases to be in effect by August 1, 2010. Poor ole Verizon. Their marketing people are suffering cutbacks. NO change in CEO salaries though. Also, they're busy outsourcing as many more stateside jobs as they can. Those Woggies will work for chicken feed compared to what lazy US workers demand. Those Gooks will work for birdseed compared to the chicken feed the Woggies will work for. And those Chinks! Holy cow, Communism is so workable when it becomes Capitalistic! China is now the major Capitalist as well as the major Communist country in the world. They've got a capital reserve! Are Communist countries supposed to have capital reserves? The State becomes the best ruler of the people. Communism-plus-Capitalism, doesn't that equal Fascism?

So poor old Verizon has lost billions (in profits now remember)--and to guess who? AT&T! Wireless is THE thing! Wireless, wireless, wireless. But, AT&T rules the wires, too. Doesn't Verizon lease its lines from AT&T? Who the hell knows? Certainly not WE the People who keep allowing these too-big-to-fail giants to keep bilking us for more and more of our stretched-to-the-limit worthless dollars--pennies, nickels, dimes, here and there among the enormous list of all communications charges on OUR phone bills.

On my phone bill for instance, I'm charged:

Under "Voice Services" (what the hell does that mean?), I'm charged for:
Verizon Local Calls; Regional Calls; Monthly Charges for Dial Tone; Touch-tone; Additional Listing; Inside Wire Maintenance; VLD Federal Universal Service; VLD Shortfall Charge. This portion of my current bill totals $60 (remember, all I use my dial-up phone for is my computer).

Under "Taxes, Fees & Other Verizon Charges" and a subhead "Voice", I'm charged for:
Federal Tax; NY State/Local Sales Tax; 911 Surcharge (that's for emergency service mind you); Federal USF Surcharge; Surcharge(s); FCC Line Charge; VLD NY Gross Receipts Tax Surcharge; VLD NY Metropolitan Transit Auth. Surcharge. This portion of my bill comes to $20.

My phone bill this month is $80. I know, you're laughing your ass off 'cause your phone bill was $300 this month, but my point is most of that $300 you're paying like this $80 I'm paying is first of all paying Verizon's taxes for them, thus all those double-taxation charges on their bills. And second of all, we're paying for wire maintenance insurance. Verizon says I'm responsible for the line inside my apartment even though they put it in--so they sell me this maintenance insurance, which it's a good thing I had it or Verizon would have skinned me alive with a huge maintenance charge for correcting a mistake in the line they made--this insurance runs now around $7 a month--almost $100 a year. I've been paying it for 20 years so that's $2,000 in wire maintenance charges I've shelled out to these crooked bookkeeping pirates; yet, I only just now used that insurance on a repair it turns out was Verizon's fault afterall. We here in New York City pay triple taxes on everything we earn or buy or have tacked onto our utilities bills. We also pay some awfully tricky sounding surcharges like a Metropolitan Transit Authority surcharge--what the fuck is that for? The MTA, an invention of Robert "Asshole Deluxe" Moses--yep, old Robert Moses who working with the auto makers tore up all the surface rail lines and built highways, and bridges, and toll roads and highways out to the Hamptons, and Jones Beach, and Robert Moses State Park. To control all of these inventions of his, he created Authorities--the Port Authority (responsible for all the tunnels and bridges and the ports around Manhattan and Brooklyn and New Jersey's Hudson River ports)--the Manhattan Transportation Authority, which controls the subway lines and bus lines (surface transit), commuter lines, etc.

So as Verizon's customers go broke and bankrupt and get foreclosed on, so is IT. Good. I'd love to see Verizon go down--though they'll probably be rescued by some Indian Telephone Co. or maybe Senor Slim who owns all the Mexico telephones will bail them out and we can pay our phone bills in pesos. Hay Carumba!! By the way, as an aside, "Hay Carumba" was a White Boy way of cursing back in long-ago-lone-gone Texas when I was an elementary school chap. We got it from a book called Texas History Movies put out by the Magnolia Oil and Petroleum Company, which was headquartered in Dallas in the magnificent Magnolia Building that had a huge Flying Red Horse up on its roof that did a three-sixty every few minutes. In that comic book, during the Battle of the Alamo, one panel shows the high wall of the Alamo's courtyard. A whole host of Mexican Federales are charging that wall with ladders--slamming the ladders against the wall and then scaling the ladders full force. The handful of brave Texans (most of them not Texans, by the way--Jim Bowie a Louisianan; Davy Crockett a Tennesseean) atop the wall are mowing down Mexicans by the gobsful. One Mexican who gets hit by a Texian rifle ball shouts as he falls off the ladder, "Hay Carumba!" I don't know who is the connection to Texas in the producing of the Simpson's (Bart Simpson's favorite cuss phrase is "Hay Carumba"), but it has to be there. I've known a lot of Mexicans since my elementary school days and I've never heard one of them at anytime say "Hay Carumba."
The Magnolia Building, Dallas, Texas (now a hi-rise luxury condo building--the horse is gone, too). To the right: the Texas History Movies

Reading my Verizon bill and weeping. Oh what foolish dunces We the People of the USA BE.
"Rob us blind," we cry, "We'll still support you."

Our Inane Government
10 years it took the FBI to bust this "Russian" spy ring--this Russian spy ring that nobody seems to know what the hell they were spying on (now the FBI is saying they did interview Homeland Security people and a nuclear scientist). Unless it's a Russian teevee reality show--Russkies coming to the US and posing as US citizens and good ole USA families while spying on what? So in a matter of days, our Feds have taken these bimbos to court, found them guilty, and have deported their slimy asses back to Mother Russia. Oh, but wait. We've exchanged spies with Mother Russia--these teevee reality show spies for a couple of really evil-sounding Russky dudes who were caught spying for the US! Obama wants those guys back over here in this country! Crime doesn't pay, boys and girls...and when you hear such bullshit, shut 'em up by showing them all the extra charges and bullshit taxes and surcharges on their phone bill.

Russian spies. I'd love to read one of their spy reports. Surely somebody on the Internet has those files. "We watched President Obama promising the American boobgeosie a change...'Yes, we can,' he screamed to his lollygagged and pie-eyed admirers--especially the Black folks--why they never seemed so happy--not even when they were slaves were they this happy--boogie-ing in the street, smiling like pleased Cheshire Cats, bubbling over with confidence, cheering Aretha Franklin as she sang the SSB at the billion-dollar inauguration of Capitalist overkill and Hollywood glam and glitter. Change from what? That he doesn't say. Americans are boobs. They'll believe anything you tell 'em. Go 'BOO' at one of 'em and they'll dance like a chicken with its head cut off in fear--they lose a lot of blood that way, too."

In the meantime, in a sudden yell of confidence, our government is announcing that they will have the Brit Petroleum wild gusher totally under control by Monday--yes, that's right, this coming Monday (July 11). A new cap will be in place by those same robots that accidentally knocked the last cap they tried to put on the well off and made the gusher worse, but this time, a very confident member of our government says the "leak" (they're still calling it a leak) will be contained and what oil is left all over the place, the skimmer ships are gonna suck up by Monday--especially that world's largest skimmer ship from Taiwan or somewhere, which on its first effort managed to suck up what about 200 gallons of oil! Whew! We're safe, folks. The oil leak will be stopped by Monday. So says our Honest Abe Government.

Remember the Mencken Creed part that says your government is a perpetual misinformer (liar) that is out to destroy your liberties.

for The Saturday Evening Post Daily Growler

You Think Times Are Hard For You--Look at the Worries Facing Our Beloved Clintons--Billy Jeff (loved by all the ladies); Hillary (loved by all the men--it's those big hips)--They Need a New Mansion...and By Golly, They've Found One--A Big Crooked Real Estate Dealer Went Bankrupt and Bill and Hillary Are Gonna Pick Up a New Mansion--Hey, That Old One Was Getting Too Easily Accessed

From Rupert Murdoch's Lousy NYPost:
"Looks like Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton are moving on up -- to a deluxe mansion away from prying eyes.

Sources told The Post the Clintons are planning to trade their almost-modest suburban Chappaqua home for a sprawling $10.9 million estate in the bucolic Westchester town of Bedford Hills, complete with 20 acres of gorgeous land surrounded by New York's elite.

The massive compound -- sweetly named Clover Hill Farm -- comes with high fences, two guesthouses and a mansion fit for Bubba's millionaire lifestyle.

The home -- found only after a long cruise down a private road -- is 7,000 square feet with a large foyer, wood paneled library with fireplace, chef's kitchen with fireplace, five bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half bathrooms.

ESTATE OF THE UNION: This 20-acre spread could be sold 'within weeks' to the Clintons, who have juggled home-hunting with world trips and Chelsea's wedding plans.
NY Post: Chad Rachman
ESTATE OF THE UNION: This 20-acre spread could be sold "within weeks" to the Clintons, who have juggled home-hunting with world trips and Chelsea's wedding plans.

Although it was built only 10 years ago, the entire mansion retains a rustic feel with exposed wooden support beams. The master bedroom has its own fireplace, along with his-and-hers dressing rooms and bathrooms. The "hers" room is two stories tall.

The house also features a wine cellar with a custom wet bar, an outdoor fireplace, a heated pool, artist studio and stable.

The current owner, Paul Wallace, founded the Manhattan real-estate firm Broadstone Group. The 74-year-old retiree declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Westchester federal court in May.

His property had been on the market since December."

Notice: The NYPost is sarcastic when writing about the ex-president and his ex-senator wife both of whom to the Post represents NY State's Leftwingers and Socialists. The Post is right to ridicule hillbilly luckies Bill and Hill (now multimillionaires) though the reasons they ridicule them are wrong.

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