Which is Worse - Government or Corporate Bureaucracy?

Libertarians have been saying for a long, long time that if we just get rid of government, everything will run a whole lot better. But if you get rid of government, corporations step in to fill the gap left by government. And the truth is, corporate bureaucracy, the kind of bureaucracy people have to deal with every day when they try to do something as simple as pay their credit card bill is just as bad - or even worse - than any government bureaucracy.

If you don’t believe me, do yourself a favor and listen to Ryan Block’s now-viral experience with Comcast customer service. All Block wanted to do was cancel his cable account and get on with his life, but the Comcast retention agent he was speaking to just wouldn’t take “no” for answer.” The conversation kept going on just like that for another eight minutes!

The amazing thing about this is that it’s not amazing at all. I’m guessing pretty much everybody in America has had an experience like this with their cable company, bank, phone company, or some other giant, monopolistic entity. I know I have.

Back when Louise and I still lived in Vermont, I tried to cancel our cell phone plan and ran into pretty much the same problem Ryan Block did when he tried to cancel his Comcast subscription. Our cell phone company had terrible service and was constantly over-billing us, so I called their customer service number to cancel my plan. I was put on hold, over and over again, for sometimes more than an hour before they just dumped the phone connection.

Over the course of a week, after repeated calls and hours and hours listening to muzak, I finally got a person who said he would cancel our plan. But then they didn’t cancel it. After another few hours of calls, I got another person who said they'd cancel our cellphone plan - and again they didn't do it.

So the next month when we got our cell phone bill, Louise and I decided that we’d had enough. We went out into our backyard, dug a hole, and gave our cell phone a ritual burial (Yes, I know this is disposing of toxic waste, but I wasn’t thinking that way at the time; my apologies).

Burying the phones, though, didn’t stop the bills, which just kept coming. So we decided to ignore them, and continued to ignore them even after the collection agency started pestering us. Eventually they went away, but not before taking a bite out of my credit score. So anyhow, that’s my story.

But here’s the point: If I had had a problem with a government bureaucracy, like the Veterans Administration or the Social Security Administration, I could have called my senator or my congressman and they would have given hell to those agencies on behalf of me. I could lobby Congress to change the way they do things, the way vets are today successfully lobbying for changes in the VA.

But if I had stood outside of my cell phone company’s headquarters and protested, they could have had me arrested for trespassing. That’s the difference between government bureaucracies and corporate bureaucracies.

Government bureaucracies are ultimately answerable to “We the People” and our elected representatives. It's called "the American system of government." Corporate bureaucracies, on the other hand, are ultimately only answerable to their shareholders, who don't give a rat's patootie if the company they own screws their customers because that means more money in their pockets.

This is especially true of the corporate bureaucracies at cable companies. Because they’re monopolies and can do whatever they want, cable companies really, really don’t care about what you or anyone else thinks about their product. After all, they’re virtual monopolies, which means that if you don’t like what they’re selling, tough luck. You’re stuck with them.

As Funny or Die.com so eloquently pointed out in a recent parody video, cable companies just don’t give a you know what. That’s about as accurate a depiction of a monopolistic company's behavior as I can think of.

Which is why we need to address this new dimension of American life, brought to you by Ronald Reagan's decision to stop enforcing the anti-trust laws, in three specific ways:

First, we need to use the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and its heirs to break up the big cable monopolies like Comcast and Verizon. Ever since Reagan greenlit corporate mergers in the 1980s, big telecom has gotten bigger and bigger. The laws needed to make our cable industry competitive again are already on the books; it’s only a question of whether we have the political will to use them.

Second, we need to start doing what the Europeans and Canadians have been doing for years: requiring phone, cable, and fiber carriers to allow any ISP to rent space on their pipelines to consumers, be they phone lines, cable lines, fiber, or wireless. Right now, if Comcast owns the pipes that bring internet to your house, you can only buy your internet from Comcast. That’s not the case in Europe and Canada, where companies have to let other companies rent space on their pipes. This is why the internet and cable industry in Canada and Europe is a lot more competitive than it is than here in the U.S.

And third, we need to pressure the FCC to use its powers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act to define the web and its carriers as common carriers. This will make the internet a public utility like water or electricity and will make the cable industry answerable first and foremost to “We the people” not “they the shareholders and CEOs.”

The cable industry and its bought-and-paid-for supporters, of course, would say that doing all these things amounts to a "big-government takeover of the internet," but they’re lying. And honestly, why should anyone take seriously the people who hire others to treat us all like poor Ryan was treated?

Comments

Gary Brumback's picture
Gary Brumback 8 years 3 weeks ago
#1

If you read my book, The Devil's Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch, you wiil see that government and corporate America are married at the groin and that both are corrupt and dangerous.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#2

Right on Thom! You said it so well. With government we have recourse, with private monopolies we only have prayer. It is high time to take back the commons and put them where they belong--in the hands of We The People! Thanks so much for making that statement so loud and clear.

Gary Brumback's picture
Gary Brumback 8 years 3 weeks ago
#3

Are you kidding? Ordinary Americans have no recourse with government. SCOTUS has been corporatized. Congress has been corporatized. The executive branch has been corporatized. You can't take back the commons until you get rid of the corpocracy, that is, both our corrupt government and our corrupt government.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#4

Gary Brumback ~ Agreed! However what better way to take back our government than to use it to abolish the corporations that pull it's strings. We abolish them by taking them over. I say take over our media, health insurance racket, communication monopolies, and energy industries and use the antitrust acts that are already on the books to break everyone else down to bite size chunks. Seems like a good idea on paper to me. Got any better suggestions?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#5

Gary Brumback ~ Personally my idea of bringing about the necessary changes would be to abolish Capitalism as we know it. The ideal way to do that is with a grass roots campaign that embraces Democratic Socialism. There is already a group in place to do just that. Democratic Socialists of America:

http://www.dsausa.org/

(While you're there don't forget to sign the petition asking Bernie Sanders to run for President in 2016)

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#6

Here's a comment from a person who worked the same kind of job as the Comcast guy:

Quote commenter on The Young Turks:
I've worked that line before for a few months. People wanting to switch away from their phone services. At the beginning of the call, once the caller makes it clear they want to leave, you need to hit a big red button icon in the top left of the screen, which flags it up on the supervisor's monitor. They then can listen in, and if you don't convince them to stay with the company, you get a 'failure point' more than five in a day, you lose your staff achievement benefit. Lose 10 in a day, you can be put on an official reprimand. On your third one of those, you can and mostly likely will be fired.

Staff achievement benefits are things like, getting to cut work early on a friday, going on staff nights out etc (I've even been asked to leave a resteraunt by my boss because I happened to go to the same one they had for the night out).

Final straw for me came when Orange had a problem with account hacking and we had a flurry of people calling to cancel. I 'lost' a client on the monday, a business client worth a lot of money, and my supervisor kept walking past and spitting at me. By wednesday I had my third official reprimand, but was spared a sacking because so did all 108 others in my pool. I then requested to be sacked anyway because the company was a shitty place to work and I was sick of being treated like a mindless mechanism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI4heYwNzdo

It's the bosses who put pressure on the employees to keep people from stopping service. The Comcast guy, as annoying as he was, sounded desperate...like he was going to lose his job if he didn't get the customer to stay with Comcast. I suspect this is the same everywhere...all the companies do it. Not everyone records their calls and puts them on YouTube...maybe they should.

Here's 8 minutes of the 30 minute call, Ryan hadn't recorded the first 22 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awV9PeX8eEA

These companies like Comcast and AT&T UVerse are nearly monopolies (in that we have very little choice of alternatives) and should be broken up like Bell Telephone was. I believe they have dishonest and deceiving marketing practices and the top brass in those companies need to be raked over the coals and put in jail. But we're going to need someone with more fortitude and honesty than the current people in our government and legal and law enforcement system.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#7
Quote hartmann: If I had had a problem with a government bureaucracy, like the Veterans Administration or the Social Security Administration, I could have called my senator or my congressman and they would have given hell to those agencies on behalf of me.
You really think so? They are probably just either laughing at you or cussing you out off line. I certainly don't have any belief that calling your senator or your congress person will do anything. Writing them or emailing them won't matter either.

Maybe Thom Hartmann has some clout but I doubt the common citizen does. I worked at Social Security headquarters, a long time ago, and had access to the letters that people would write in to their congressmen concerning Social Security and after the Congress person's aides scan the letters, they are sent to be archived at SS headquarters..photographed and put on microfilm strips...that would be put into cartridges and could be retrieved and viewed on a screen. Hard copies could be made from the microstrips. It was all computer controlled...all those microstrip readers. There were certainly a lot of strange letters! There's a lot of nutty people, that's for sure! One guy thought he had the cure for several different diseases...by drinking one's own urine.

Anyway, congress people never read those letters unless an aide flags them to be read...which is never...unless they see some political gain in it. Think about it...how can congress people read or assess all those forms of communication? Even with their aides or computers doing most of the work?

Now, they most likely have scanners that look for certain keywords and then just tally up all the letters/emails that mention them. That turns issues into numbers... percentages. And if the congress people get anything it is a brief assessment as to the priorities... what percentage of people believe in certain major issues. Occasionally, the aides might pick out a communication that the congress person can use to benefit him/herself politically...just for show.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 3 weeks ago
#8

Thom writes, "Libertarians think that if you get rid of government, everything will run a whole lot better." 2950-10K thinks if we get rid of billionaires, government would run a whole lot better.

So I guess Libertarians dismiss the Enlightenment intellectuals as simply a bunch of foolish thinkers. On the other hand, John Locke might use the word foolish to describe the Libertarians, but I'm quite sure he would not include the word...... thinkers.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 3 weeks ago
#9

Palin -- Sounds like Utopia (acting on the largest number of complaints). When I had a problem with a delay in getting my passport (after the repugs privatized one of the processes), I called by congress worman. My passport arrived soon after. You would probably call it a coincidence. Do you have any better suggestions?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#10

These cellphone companies sound like a DRAG. We use Trac Phone and have never had a problem. We pay once a year; no monthly bill, no contract. It's EASY. I would never mess with Comcast or AT&T.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#11

In the news on RT the Malaysian airliner that was just shot down killing 280 passengers and 15 crew... they kept saying that it was shot down by the Ukrainian military. RT had news people on the ground where the crash happened and got their information from eyewitnesses who saw the missile streak through the air and strike the plane.

I suspected that the US news sources will probably say that it was the Russians who shot it down. Then I turned to the US news channels and, sure enough, they all say it was shot down by Russia. It figures! I believe they said it was shot down about 38 miles from the Russian border in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. The plane was traveling over a war zone in the Ukraine where they most likely do have the ability to shoot down airliners.

But the plane was traveling toward Russia where one might imagine that Russia has anti-aircraft missiles ready to shoot down any enemy aircraft approaching Russia.

On the other hand, could this just be another false flag that the US has created, either using the Ukrainian forces or having their own covert CIA forces in the country to do the dirty deed so they could blame it on Russia? After 9/11, I am way past the belief that our country wouldn't do this to hundreds or even thousands of innocent people even if they are our own, or our allies.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/07/17/777-shot-down-over-ukraine/

Could it be that Israel needed a wag-the-dog event to take the heat from their illegal murderous atrocities in Gaza? These Neo-Nazis are using inhumane banned weapons.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#12

chuckle8: I guess it's like people who like to talk to their imaginary friend in the sky....they will continue to believe in the efficacy of that action even if the imaginary friend doesn't come through. Some are still waiting...thousands of years later...for some things to happen. And it looks like they are about to make it happen....the bad parts, that is. They are all a bunch of crazy people no better than the suicide bombers.

fbacher's picture
fbacher 8 years 3 weeks ago
#13

Wer'e the phone company...

My father sold the house he inherited from his sister. For months I was arguing with ATT over the phone bill. I told them that my aunt was dead, the property was sold and that the house was torn down. There was no phone, nor phone wire. Yet they still took the position that the phone was still in service. It has been years and they still occassionally send a bill, which I return with her new address, at the cemetary.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#14

fbacher: That was a great idea! :-) Maybe you should tape all of those bills to the tomb stone and take a photo of it and send it to AT&T. They really can't do anything after 7 years anyway...statute of limitations. One caveat...they could sell the debt to a collection agency who will continue to hound you and if you bite (ie: either say you will make payments or partial payments or if you actually do make those payments) then it brings the legal debt back to life and the SOL no longer applies. Those collection agents will hound you by calling you over and over again...and they even end up calling the wrong numbers pestering people who had nothing to do with it. Best just to get Caller ID and only answer the phones when you recognize the phone numbers.

I'm no lawyer, but that's how I understand it.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 3 weeks ago
#15

Pal -- Wait a minute. I thought you were telling me what does come through.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#16

chuckle8: What does come through, of course, the believer will say that it was because of his talking to his imaginary friends that made it possible.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#17
Quote nydailynews.com:Buk missile launcher that reportedly took out Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 developed by Soviet Union

The Buk missile can strike targets 72,000 feet (13 miles) in the air. The plane was at 33,000 feet (6.25 miles) when it was struck. The distance from the crash site to the Russian border was 25 miles. So, whoever launched that missile had to have been well within the Ukraine border.

Quote nydailynews.com:Last week, Ukrainian forces moved Buk missile batteries into the eastern part of the country, where it is putting down a separatist insurgency.

Russia-backed militants may also have the sophisticated launchers.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/missile-launcher-malaysia-airlines...

Isn't it negligent to fly passenger airliners over war zones...war zones where they have missile launchers that can bring down passenger airliners? If the airlines have not already diverted their flight patterns then they should do so.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#18

The pro-Russian rebels had shot down a Ukraine military plane the day before using the Buk missiles. Could it be that the Malaysia plane was shot down by someone who backs the Ukraine government as a way of blaming the pro-Russian rebels or Russia for it. A journalist had seen a Buk launcher in a nearby town, some 13 miles from the downed airliner, just yesterday. Another consideration is that it takes special training to use these Buk launchers and the pro-Russian rebels may not have been very well trained or not trained at all. It took some expertise to be able to successfully launch a missile that would take out a target. It is also claimed that the Russians do send in special forces into eastern Ukraine so maybe, if it was the Russians that did it, they would not have been limited to the border 25 miles away. It is not very conceivable, however, that the Russians, who would have the expertise, would mistake a passenger airliner for a military plane. And I doubt that the Russians would want the added anti-Russian propaganda to fall against them.

The only ones who want to see a massive escalation are those who created this mess to begin with...the US and Europe and the Nazi Ukraine government.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/17/malaysian-airlines-plane-bu...

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#19

Palindromedary ~ There is another possibility that should be explored. I understand there were 20-30 Americans aboard this flight. What was the passenger manifest. Planes have been brought down by military equipment before just to eliminate one or two passengers. JFK Jr. comes to mind. Could this have been a hit with a lot of innocent bystanders? It is, after all, the MO of our shadow government. They care nothing for innocent human life.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#20

Fbacher, I find your AT&T experience oh so intriguing. That's because I've my own AT&T experience to share.

This occurred back in the late 1990s. It started with a friend of ours named Jeff who was in prison, with whom I’d remained in contact. Jeff was calling us on the phone occasionally. I remember being quite stunned by the impact his calls had on our phone bill. Those AT&T douchbags were charging us $3.50 a minute for those calls. After awhile I told Jeff that if he wanted to remain in touch, it would have to be by mail. But even after I explained to Jeff why I didn’t want him calling anymore, he did it anyway, and did it repeatedly. My message machine picked up the calls; that was it. And then came the bill from AT&T. They wanted me to pay them something in excess of sixty dollars for this lineup of calls, each exactly a minute long, the amount of time it took my message machine to do its thing. I refused to pay the bill, responding with a letter explaining the situation. They sent me another bill, then another. I wouldn’t budge, and they eventually gave up.

Corporations may not be “people” but they are mighty slick predators. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#21
Quote Aliceinwonderland:Corporations may not be “people” but they are mighty slick predators.

Aliceinwonderland ~ Speaking about mighty slick predators did you know that the California State Water Resource Council Board has just passed a $500 a day fine for people excessively using water in the state. Yep, that is right! If you are found watering your lawn and there is overrun, or washing your car without a shut off nozzle, or a variety of other stipulations you will be fined $500 per day. I can only imagine that since this is the State you cannot simply refuse to pay. You could feasibly have a lien placed against your property or pay check if you refuse--not to mention possible other fines tacked on as well. And that is not all. The State intends to extend this penalty into water services as well eventually. I'll keep everyone posted as to what becomes of that when I learn myself. If you live in California, as of August first, if I were you I'd let my lawn and plants make the ultimate sacrifice. I'd also limit my toilet flushes as well. A word to the wise.

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/State-water-board-expected-to-OK-500-a-day-fines-5623907.php

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#22

Marc, that sounds like no picnic. How do you feel about it? Do you think it's too heavy handed? - AIW

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 3 weeks ago
#23

Palindromedary, it's a very old political trick to commit an act of terrorism and blame it on the other side - especially to get somebody into a war or win support for your side. Think the mortar round in the marketplace of Sarajevo, or Gulf of Tonkin, the U.S.S. Maine or the acts of terror the CIA commit in Viet Nam to justify U.S. intervention in the '50s or even, in some way, 9/11 - some people think. I think this is, in fact, another of those.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#24

DAnneMarc: Very interesting idea! Very possible! And the warmongering imperialists in the US would blame it on the Russians to justify invading Ukraine with Nato and US troops. Once take over of Ukraine and probably Crimea is done they'll probably put nukes in there as well. Russia will no longer have a warm water port like they do now in Crimea. Crippling Russia, slowly strangling them, until they can no longer be any kind of a threat or resist the US imperialists.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#25

God bless America.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 3 weeks ago
#26

Democratic government is to the citizenry what a labor union is to the workers. It represents them against the corporations who would otherwise have them for lunch. Thus corporations hate democratic government for the same reason they hate unions, they hate democracy.

They love undemocratic government. They love the police state of China where they moved all their manufacturing because, being a police state, the citizenry and workers can't organize there and get some decent labor, environmental and product safety regulation to serve the people.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#27

Mark J. Saulys: I certainly agree with you there! We have a whole history of false flags, as you said, and it would be foolish not to believe that they haven't done it in Ukraine or in the future. When our country tells us one minute that Al Qaida are terrorists and our enemy and then they turn right around and supply them with support in Syria (including most likely chemical weapons to be used as a false flag to blame Assad), then it's time to wonder who our real enemies are.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#28

.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#29

Aliceinwonderland ~ Yes! I feel it is waaaaaaay too heavy handed. These politicians have--so far--made no attempt to push this water abstinence policy AT ALL!!! Jumping to this Draconian measure without preemptive punitive measures is absolutely ridiculous. No one I know living in this State could take the impact of this legislation without becoming instantly bankrupt. And, that is just for one day. A sweep of a week of this unconstitutional nonsense could destroy entire families before they even know there is a problem. Many--if not most--of Californian families are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford such a penalty for anything. This legislation--as it is written--is absolutely ridiculous and--in itself-a crime against the people. I cannot wait to see how the people react to such legislation. I have no sympathy toward the people in charge who legislated it. Whatever the rational reasons, this is too damn much and too damn late to fly without serious repercussions. And that is my two cents.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 3 weeks ago
#30

Our enemies are not the same as their enemies. The elites want us to lay our lives down for the sake of their rivalries that don't benefit the common people at all..

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#31

Mark: They (China) sure must not have very good environmental regulations because when I went to Shanghai for my job for a couple of weeks, the air pollution was horrendous and that river, the Huangpu river, that flows through the city had visible sewage rapidly flowing by as I watched it from the bridge.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#32

Sorry, AIW, I made one of my untimely edits.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#33

I hear that California farmers expect to lose billions of dollars worth of crops. Of course, they blame it all on Democrats. They say that we will see a big increase in prices at the super markets. I guess if you can't grow your own vegetables because of the fines and rationing, you have no other choice but to pay the higher supermarket prices.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#34

Marc, that's a very persuasive argument. I see nothing to argue with in your post.

I'd already heard about that new California water penalty on the radio, sometime earlier this week. I agree that the drought is pretty dire down there. But it still sounds pretty draconion, all right. And sneaky. What happens to people who don't follow the news, and don't even know about this new law going into effect? At $500 a day, just imagine what a month's accumulation of infractions, or even two weeks' worth, would cost!

I've long believed that, generally (and not just in California!) Americans tend to be wasteful with water. It's hard not to take something for granted when it comes gushing through a faucet or spigot, at the twist of a wrist, in seemingly unlimited quantities. For years now, I've tried using water consciously and prudently. In the case of a severe drought, such as Californians now are facing, I'm all for giving the public ample warning, and then fining people something like $10 a day. Even at that rate, it adds up fast. For someone struggling to make ends meet, this would create plenty of incentive. Even for those better off than living paycheck-to-paycheck, it's enough incentive. Who the hell wants to get surprised with $150 or $300 in fines tacked onto their bill at the end of the month?! Seems to me that would be harsh enough; maybe even too harsh, as some might persuasively argue. But one thing is for certain: the situation is serious. People need to conserve water down there. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#35

AIW: And people, as I understand it, are taking videos of their neighbors who are wasting water and turning them in. Well, at least so far anyway, the authorities aren't special renditioning people and torturing them in Gitmo.

I just hope that they catch those corporations that like to over water their lawns. Years ago, when I had to commute past corporate buildings, I saw such a waste of water even during the drought season...letting water run down the street. For corporations, I don't think they would be so moved by a $10 a day fine. On the other hand $500 a day fine for people struggling just to get by might cause some people to go over the edge.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#36

Palin, I wasn't thinking about corporations. They can pay $10,000 a day for all I care. I was only thinking about the little guy.

As the world's natural resources keep getting stretched thinner and thinner, people will have to change their ways. Seems inevitabile - AIW.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#37

Aliceinwonderland ~ The situation is serious no doubt. Also it is tragically true that most people waste water unconscionably. That being said, this HAS happened before here in California. This isn't the first time and probably won't be the last. In fact, during my lifetime it happened before. I remember it well. You probably do to. The general response back then was simply to do exactly what you suggested--small fines at the water meter. If I remember correctly we were all alotted a certain amount of water to use depending on the size of our household. That was measured monthly at our water meter. We had the choice of taking meager and fast showers; or, not showering at all and just letting the water pour out on the sidewalk. It was our choice. After getting dinged and a letter of explanation guess what? No more water on the sidewalk. You don't have to rob a family blind to get them to change their habits, all you really have to do is to make it cheaper for them to change. Then, saving water becomes a way to make money instead of a way to avoid debt prison. I don't know who is in charge of this situation or what is going through their minds; however, to simply not repeat a course of action that was proven successful before seems really incompetent in my book. In my humble opinion, the members of this water council just aren't wrapped too tight.

Besides, all this talk about fining for watering lawns and washing cars only affects what people do in the street and in front of their houses. What about in the bathrooms and yards? Unless you ding at the water meter you don't really solve anything. This idea is the most stupid and wasteful non solution I've heard come out of Sacramento since red light cameras. It's more of an attempt to raise revenue and not really to solve any problems. Just like the red light cameras. The thiefs are in charge.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 3 weeks ago
#38

Pal -- It is of course the 1% bitching. A lot of the water is being used to grow water hungry alfalfa to send to China. Also, a deal was made with nut tree growers to get first grab of the water. They are growing nut trees that should never have been grown in a state like CA. The deal was made long ago before the current severe shortage, and even then it was known the should not be grown..

If you want more details (or even just check on my memory), you should look up articles in the LA Times by M. Hiltzik. He also has a website "the economy hub".

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 3 weeks ago
#39

AIW, Marc -- It is a progressive fine that starts out small. They are currently guessing that it is a wake-up law and will not be enforced (except against people they do not like-LOL).

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 3 weeks ago
#40

DAM -- There was one American and he lived most of his life in the Netherlands. He was an American because he was born in New York City.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 3 weeks ago
#41

Pal -- Is the Buk missile part of the SA-11 system? That system requires 3 components that are needed for accurate targeting and launch. The launch vehicle had a standalone radar on it that easily could mistaken the identity of the passenger plane. Also, there are a lot of older soldiers in the Ukrainian army and mercinaries who were members of the USSR armed forces. Some of them would have the skills to launch the missile.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 3 weeks ago
#42

I guess I can fill my pool without any repercussions.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#43

Chuckle8: Yes, I believe that the SA-11 is the missile part of the Buk missile system (launcher). If you look inside one of those launchers, you would see all kinds of complicated control panels, radar screen, etc. The SA-11 came about in 1980 with an improvement in 1984. The original 1980 SA-11 had a range of 3-19 miles with an altitude of 46,000 feet. The 1984 SA-11 had a range of 2-22 miles and an altitude of 72,000 feet. It takes quite a bit of training to operate one of the Buk missile systems. And the Ukraine army or the Russians would have most likely had the necessary training. The Pro-Russian separatists most likely would not have had training. But someone, either the pro-Russian separatists or the Russians operating in that part of the Ukraine did knock out three different Ukraine military aircraft in the preceding weeks. Given their success, it could be that the Malaysian airliner's flight path was a deliberate sucker play in the attempt to sucker the anti-Ukraine forces to shoot it down...or that this was a false flag operation where a covert operative shot the plane down so that they could blame the anti-Ukraine forces...especially Russia.

Remember the false flag that the US-Saudi Arabia (and others) played in Syria when they provided the anti-Assad forces with chemical weapons and their stunt killed and wounded Syrian civilians?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buk_missile_system

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 3 weeks ago
#44
Quote chuckle8:AIW, Marc -- It is a progressive fine that starts out small. They are currently guessing that it is a wake-up law and will not be enforced (except against people they do not like-LOL).

chuckle8 ~ That is not what I heard. However, if you want to talk about small fines that make a big difference, lets talk about grocery bags. My city of Oakland--and San Francisco--passed ordinances that stated that grocery stores could still use plastic bags; however, now they needed to charge something like a measly 10 cents per bag if used. This was to discourage using plastic bags. Guess what? Now people are dragging their reusable cloth bags to the grocery stores. They didn't have to ban anything or impose a ridiculous fine. A simple 10 cent charge per bag was enough to change peoples behavior and get remarkable results.

The same approach can be done with water conservation. It hasn't been tried and that is a shame because it has been used in the past with astonishing results. What is happening now in Sacramento is a crime against the people. It will solve nothing and delay the necessary action that will help reduce the problem. This is the "War On Drugs" mentality all over again; and, it will only enrich the state coffers at the expense of hurting our middle class and costing the state more water in the long run.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 3 weeks ago
#45

Remember the Iranian passenger airliner that the USS Vincennes shot down in the Arabian Gulf in 1988? 290 on board, 66 children, and 16 crew. And remember, the US Navy had much more sophisticated equipment and highly trained men. The US never even apologized to Iran. The US did not admit legal liability but agreed to pay US$61.8 million in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims -- wikipedia

When I hear that hypocrite Obama and all the other US politician hypocrites, and news media hypocrites, spew their hypocrite propaganda around I just want throw up. The Nazis who overthrew the original, legitimate government of Ukraine are the real terrorists and so are those who helped them...like Europe and the US.

Why was this plane allowed, or directed, to fly over a war zone? I'd sure like to find out if this was an anomaly or if other passenger airliners had been flying over that area as well.

I'm sure glad I don't have to fly anymore. It's too damn dangerous!

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 3 weeks ago
#46

That part of California grows most of the food in the world and it's naturally half way desert country. They have to irrigate from the aquifer. The land is only artificially fertile and at great extra cost.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 3 weeks ago
#47

Marc, I couldn't agree with you more. It seems more like a way to rip people off than to actually solve a problem. Something's rotten in Sacramento. I hope I'm not rubbing it in, my friend, but I'm kinda glad we migrated to Oregon. It ain't exactly nirvana, living here, but I don't think it's quite as corrupt. Like you say, the thieves are in charge. - AIW

Toltec Logic's picture
Toltec Logic 8 years 2 weeks ago
#48

SCOTUS, as you say, isn't reppresentative of govenerment but quite the opposite.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 2 weeks ago
#49

DAM -- I think the fine system has been in place since January. Do you know of anyone that has been fined? I do not believe they would even have to fine someone 10 cents. I think if the police went around and handed out warning tickets the problem could be solved. Of course, it is very expensive to have police going around and knocking on doors; having a grocery clerk asking for 10 cents is cheap.

I thought the $500 fine thing, was the water resources board trying asking the media to scare the populace.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 2 weeks ago
#50
Quote chuckle8:I thought the $500 fine thing, was the water resources board trying asking the media to scare the populace.

chuckle8 ~ "Scare the populace", huh? Tell that to my niece who recently got dinged over $500 for rolling a red light on a right turn under one of those "scare the populace" red light cameras. Yeah, I'm sure she is volunteering for community service for six months as a "scare tactic." The truth is that Sacramento is full of a bunch of venomous vipers. If you really think that they are acting in the best interest of the state then I have a bridge to sell you. It's old, but it sure is pretty. It spans between San Francisco and the Marin headlands. It's yellow in color and you can have it--if you act now, for the low, low price of $19.99 down. I'll sign it over to you right now and we can work out the rest of the payment options at your leisure. Of course, this is not a scare tactic. Are you game?

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