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Tharp case still makes me cry

I initially blogged about this case as it unfolded, then re-titled the blog and condensed my comments. As far as I know, nothing has ever ...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Is Mountain America Federal Credit Union in cahoots with the telephone industry?

1/10/2018 update: Previous efforts to tweet a link to this post resulted in a blocked link. My apologies for that. Apparently, the only link that works on Twitter and Facebook is a general link to this blog. Thanks for your interest. 

Regarding phone companies trying to force people to have home phones or cell phones, I decided to expose an unpleasant experience I had last year with Mountain America Federal Credit Union in West Jordan, Utah.

Tried to open a CD, and they express-mailed me some forms to be notarized. I complied and express-mailed the forms back in the envelope they included.

Then they e-mailed me that I would have to call them for "phone verification." Never mind that I'm in South Carolina and it was not an 800 number.

So I never opened the account, and got a higher interest rate elsewhere. Sometimes it pays to look around. Searching reviews, I found one that claimed Mountain America required wire transfers if you opened an account from out of state. Fortunately, I never got that far with 'em.

I strongly recommend avoiding Mountain America.

I'm sick and tired of businesses helping telephone companies force consumers to use phones, fax machines, wire services - anything but e-mail.  I posted a complaint about another financial institution last year. Adding insult to injury is the telephone industry orchestrating the disappearance of pay phones. 

The phone company "connection" to financial institutions reared its head long ago when I opened a reward checking account with a credit union in Mississippi, the deal being that in order to get higher interest on your account, you had to have home phone and Internet. 

Time for politicians who sell out to telephone industry lobbyists to clean up their act.

1/5/2018 update: SUCH A PLEASURE to expose all of these jerks on Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter. If Americans are DUMB enough to tolerate efforts to force 'em to pay big bucks to communicate, so be it. I'm not about to.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Ashley Landess paid over $100,000 a year to say SC's legislature is corrupt? SHAME on the SC Policy Council.

According to the South Carolina Secretary of State, make that a whoppin' $104,681 for 2016. Perhaps President Landess got a raise for 2017. I e-mailed a request to the Secretary of State after I couldn't find Landess' salary on the Council's website.

Landess is a regular commentator on Columbia's Make the Point radio station. She's a longtime friend of station founder Keven Cohen, who started his operation several years ago after being fired from his longtime job at WVOC, supposedly because WVOC wanted to go in a "different direction."

Talk about a cozy relationship.

Cohen is quick to encourage listeners to donate to the SC Policy Council, though I've never heard him mention his friend's six-figure salary. From what I've heard, a better name for Cohen's radio station would be "Miss the Point."

The trick seems to be to conjure up as many ways as possible to break the earth-shattering news to South Carolinians that their state legislature (gasp) is corrupt. Nonetheless, Cohen and Landess have yet to breathe a word about South Carolina's probate racket. That glaring omission by both of these self-proclaimed government watchdogs - I've tweeted blog links to both businesses - gets stranger by the day.

Searching the Council's website, I noticed that the Council was founded in 1986, the same year attorneys in the legislature turned probate into a money-makin' racket designed to pad their own greedy pockets. Is the public expected to believe that a bonafide government watchdog organization, present from the get-go, has never seen fit to publicize what was going on?

Kinda makes ya wonder what guidelines Landess and Cohen follow when deciding where they want to focus the public's attention. Or, more to the point, what they want to focus the public's attention away from. Lately, the nuclear power scandal has taken front and center in their blabberings.

Landess' commentary last week was downright alarming.

She cooed ever so sweetly into Cohen's microphone that based on the Council's recent "research," legislators may now have no alternative but to allow power companies to continue charging customers for the boondoggle. In other words, the gang who got us into this mess may not now be able to get us out, an opinion at odds with late-breaking news regarding the proposed sale of South Carolina Electric and Gas.

Cohen's behavior has also been enough to raise eyebrows. For example, instead of interviewing a culprit like Nikki Setzler, who co-sponsored the bill that got the mess started, Cohen "grilled" a relatively unknown House member who wasn't even around when the nuclear power scandal quietly got underway. Notice in the news article linked to above that Nikki Setzler has nothing but praise for the proposed sale of SCE&G, which would leave rate-payers badly ripped off.

At this point, nobody can be blamed for wondering exactly who bankrolls the South Carolina Policy Council, or, to make the point even clearer, who's interests Cohen and Landess are looking out for. But alas. In that regard, the Council's professed dedication to "transparency" has again faltered.

I BELIEVE Landess when she declares that keeping the South Carolina Policy Council's donors anonymous is designed to protect them from reprisal.

Now that I'm more familiar with how the Council operates, I better understand why, when I first e-mailed the Council (in February of 2016) about South Carolina's probate racket, their response was "Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to pursue a topic like that." Right. When "resources" are spent on six-figure salaries, ya gotta cut somewhere.

Methinks Cohen and Landess protesteth too much. Actions speak louder than words.

Update 1/18/2018 - Cohen is now running Dominion Energy ads (for which he's paid) and featuring fast talking Dominion big shots as guests. How long are South Carolinians gonna put up with being ripped off by self-serving jerks in the legislature?

Update 1/5/18 - Truly a pleasure to send a link to this post to all SC legislators and the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

HEY, SCE&G: Everyone doesn't have a phone

I've been trying for about a month to get South Carolina Electric and Gas out to check for underground lines before I dig.

I don't have a phone, landline or cell, 'cause I got tired of robocalls and refused to pay to be harassed. SCE&G gimme a link to an online form, which I filled out, but got no response.


1/5/2018 update: SCE&G REFUSES TO INSPECT FOR UNDERGROUND LINES UNLESS I TELEPHONE THEM. I have explained over and over that I don't have a phone, and why, and I've provided more than enough information on their online form for them to confirm a time to visit my property. Here's another post re businesses helping phone companies try to force people to pay big bucks to communicate.

12/28/2017 update: My pleasure to send SCE&G a link to this post on their online form about calling before you dig. Also sent 'em a link in a tweet.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Siddiqui scandal: Amerika's military is a national disgrace

"Siddiqui's father is an auto-parts worker who was returning from his night shift when he first heard the news that his son was dead. He recalls seeing an ambulance parked in front of his home. Inside, first responders were attending to Siddiqui's mother, who had just received the news." - Eric London, in his excellent article, "20-year-old Muslim recruit killed by officers at Marine boot camp."

I just love it when Americans are confronted with uncomfortable truths about their inane love affair with the military. The usual response is a nervous chuckle as they put a dumb look on their faces, zip their lips, and tuck their cowardly tails. Big Brother has brainwashed his subjects well: musn't criticize Amerika's goon thug military, no matter how heinous the conduct. I blogged about the deafening public silence when the investigative report was released regarding the Marines drowning Jason Tharp, and the appalling lack of adequate public outrage has once again emerged, though not quite as deafening, regarding the alleged suicide of Muslim recruit Raheel Saddiqui, whose Arabic surname, ironically enough, means "The Truthful." One Muslim recruit was forced into an industrial clothes drier, got severely burned, and broke into tears. Saddiqui wound up dead. Jacob Weaver, a former Marine who was in Siddiqui's unit, decided to expose the horrors of boot camp "training," thereby prompting the current investigation.

It must have been a real shocker to the thugs who run Parris Island that someone dared to speak out so publicly about Marine Corps "training." The courageous Jacob Weaver is due a BIG round of applause. Fact is, the Marine Corps has an appalling history of scandals dating back at least to the 1950's.  .

Conspicuously missing from all the mainstream media accounts of Marine Corps brutality inflicted on recruits is any mention of the drowning of Marine recruit Jason Tharp.

Had it not been for the decades-long, cowardly public silence in response to previous instances of criminal military conduct, the racially-charged atmosphere of Marine Corps boot camp and the abuse of Muslim recruits would not have happened. The public has given America's military the go-ahead for any kind of barbarism imaginable, even when it's directed at hapless young recruits.

The death of Raheel Saddiqui features headline-grabbing visits by two politicians to Parris Island, both of whom are willing to accept the Marine Corps' word for it that Saddiqui - who had no history of mental problems until he entered the Marine Corp - committed suicide. Never mind that the Marine Corp was caught lying about the circumstances of Jason Tharp's drowning (initially claiming he entered the water voluntarily), and never mind that boot camp bigotry was exposed in 2006 (!) by no less of a veteran than a retired Marine sergeant who wrote an article aptly titled "Learning to be a Killer." Note that 2006 is the same year the Army got exposed for its pornographic torture of Muslims at Abu Ghraib. Based on my own experience, I wrote about how the Army indoctrinates recruits with sexual filth.

Siddiqui's family vehemently disagrees with the allegation of suicide, maintaining that there's insufficient evidence to warrant such a conclusion, and they have now filed a 100 million dollar lawsuit against the Marines. Their efforts are supported by Rep. Debbie Dingell, (D) Michigan.

Raheel Siddiqui was a personable young man, much like the accounts given of Jason Tharp, and Siddiqui's family is to be commended for challenging the allegation of suicide. The racially-charged circumstances of Siddiqui's death cry out for long overdue national honesty regarding Marine Corps. misconduct. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) apparently has a problem when it comes to drawing logical conclusions based on findings of fact. By what standard of Orwellian mumbo jumbo did the drowning of Jason Tharp amount to anything other than cold-blooded, first degree murder? It would have made just as much sense had the NCIS concluded that Jason too somehow committed suicide.

A country with a scintilla of fundamental decency would have protested in massive numbers at the gates of Parris Island when Jason Tharp's investigative report was released.

In addition to making racist thugs out of "the troops," when the US military burns Korans, tortures Muslim prisoners, and singles out Muslim recruits for racially-charged harassment, it fans the flames of America's illegal wars and helps keep profits flowing to the security-industrial complex. What better way to stoke up Amerika's war machine than verbal and physical assaults directed at Muslim recruits, not to mention the worldwide publicity that would surely result if one of those recruits wound up dead? Marine General Smedley Butler got it right, way back in the 1930's, in the title to his book, "War is a Racket." At the time of his death, General Butler was the most highly decorated combat Marine in US history.

How did Americans come to be so cowardly, so brainwashed, so spiritually dead that they tolerate anything a tyrannical government and its goon thug military dishes out? Dr. Paul Craig Roberts tells it like it is in his article, "Americans are a conquered people." They "live in a propaganda-fabricated world in which a brutal police state is cloaked in nice words like 'freedom and democracy.".

Update 11/11/2017 -It was announced yesterday that a drill instructor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing Muslim recruits, one of whom was Raheel Siddiqui. Here's a link to another article. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nuclear power scandal exposes a stupefied South Carolina public

"Sooner or later it will dawn on them that there is nothing they can do but violently revolt. Most likely, by the time they reach this conclusion, it will be too late. Americans are very slow to escape from the false reality in which they live. Americans are a thoroughly brainwashed people who hold tightly to their false life within The Matrix." - Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (under Reagan) Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

It was a howling hoot when Ashley Landess, president of the SC Policy Council, blabbered the ol' "contact your legislators" line as a solution to the utility company ripoff orchestrated by SC's General Assembly. Perhaps Ms. Landess is unaware of the deluge of opposition legislators have received for many years regarding their empowerment of so-called Homeowners Associations, all to no avail, Expressing your views to these special-interest-serving jerks is a waste of time, Just for grins n chuckles, I sent all of 'em a link to the latest post on my probate blog. As expected, I got nothing but automated replies.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Landess admitted that popular opposition to a gas tax did not prevent the legislature from imposing one this year. If you say it fast enough, "contact your legislator" sounds almost as good as "Free Iraq."

Someone dared to imply that politically-nonchalant South Carolinians - so permissive of corruption - are genetically disposed to be stupid. I liked that. Ms. Landess, of course, did not.

Why on earth do people participate in a pervasively corrupt electoral system? Ya gotta be pretty dumb - or willfully ignorant - not to know that elections are controlled by big-moneyed goons such as SCANA (a "hyper-secretive" 9 billion dollar holding company), funding those ultra-expensive political advertising campaigns so popular with a presstitute mainstream media whose "investigative prowess" is a national joke. Wanna be elected? Just play up to the "right" special interests, and rest assured that sufficient numbers of a media-brainwashed public - mindlessly believing that voting is their civic duty - will usher you into position. I quit voting many years ago.

The South Carolina Policy Council keeps itself politically correct by ignoring a fundamentally flawed electoral system. I got fed up with their claims to be a government watchdog when they refused to breathe a word about South Carolina's probate racket. Makes ya wonder what else they oh-so-politely decline to address.

Not that some of the Council's articles aren't pleasantly appropriate. I've even linked to several - it's a nice touch - in my blog posts. Unfortunately, their articles really don't disclose anything that a smattering of common sense wouldn't tell a person about notorious corruption in the state legislature.

The nuclear power plant ripoff will continue.

I always laugh when people express shock and dismay that "their" representatives don't care what the public thinks about anything. The self-serving slobs aren't accountable to the public - they're accountable to a slew of special interests. The Public Service Commission - a select bunch of utility company stooges - will approve the utility rate hike requests, and South Carolinians will hand over the dough, keeping their mouths shut and their tails tucked.

The most frequent comment I get regarding the SC Legislature's probate racket is, "It's all a racket." Indeed it is. America has reduced itself to a cesspool of corruption, dishonesty, and deceit. The last thing it needs is a gang of conflicted social climbers who ultimately promote the status quo.

Update 12/19/2017 - According to the SC Secretary of State, Ashley Landess' salary is a whoppin' 104,681 per year. No wonder the Council wants people to donate.

Update 9/21/2017 - My pleasure to tweet a link to this post to the South Carolina Policy Council, and just for a few more grins n chuckles, I also sent a link to all SC legislators and tweeted a link to Governor McMaster.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

DHEC refuses to remedy sandblasting hazard in W. Columbia, South Carolina

So-called regulatory agencies in America are a disgrace. I got another example of this sorry state of affairs when I complained to DHEC about sandblasting being done on the W. Columbia water reservoir off Augusta Rd. near the library.

On 8/17/2017 I encountered a fog of particles when riding my bicycle to the library. There were some folks sweeping alongside the road, and I initially thought what I saw was the dust they were stirring up. Work on the water reservoir had been going on for weeks, and I had no idea that particles had been escaping from underneath the cover at the top. When I realized what was happening, it was too late to avoid inhaling dangerous pollutants, and I immediately encountered respiratory problems.

So I complained to DHEC.

They first tried to pass the buck to the EPA due to the potential for lead contamination, maintaining if there was a lead issue, DHEC would not have jurisdiction. And of course the EPA referred me back to DHEC. John C. Ansell from DHEC said he visited the sandblasting operation, determined that the old paint contained no lead, and DHEC refused to take further action.

Using sand for sandblasting has been banned in Europe due to the risk of silicosis,

DHEC's attotide is typical of a corporate-controlled government that establishes regulatory agencies designed to serve the interests of businesses they are charged with regulating. The public is left with little or no recourse short of filing a lawsuit, which, of course, is expensive and risky.

I'm sure DHEC is well aware that lead is not the only concern when it comes to sandblasting. It's ridiculous that the cover placed over W. Columbia's water reservoir would permit particles to escape, much less enough to create a fog. Point is, the cover should function to contain the sandblasting operation instead of fooling an unwary public into assuming protection is in place.

The regulations - see 3a - for the city of Haverhill, Massachusetts exemplify a legitimate concern for protecting the public when lead is not an issue, requiring that "Such blasting operations be sufficiently shrouded and ground covered with tarpaulin to contain particulate matter from entering the ambient air space, to prevent visible emissions beyond the vertically extended property line to prevent public exposure to particulates, and to prevent deposition of particulate matter upon public and other property." 

W. Columbia and DHEC need to clean up their act. 

8/26/2017 update: My pleasure to send  DHEC and the City of W. Columbia a link to this post.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

BAD DOGS at 727 Hook Avenue in W. Columbia, South Carolina

8/21/2017 update - I've now confirmed that at least one other person had witnessed the dogs chase people and had informed W. Columbia police.

8/19/2017 update: Animal control officer Emily Alford "forgot" to take video of the dog attack but filed a report, #1717914. And just for the record, the name of the W. Cola. police officer I emailed complaints to for several months is David Myers. TOTALLY INEXCUSABLE THAT THE DOG OWNER HASN'T BEEN FINED. Law enforcement's latest song n dance is that the attack animal control witnessed only counts as the first offense and therefore doesn't warrant a citation. Ms. Alford also suggested that the dogs may have been upset because of high frequency noises generated by spinning bicycle wheels. In other words, the dog attacks were somehow my fault.

6/28/2017 update - Spoke with someone yesterday who used to walk by the property and was attacked by the same one of the dogs that came after me. The guy said he was armed, had started to draw his weapon on one occasion, but didn't want to shoot the dog, so he had decided to change his walking route. Real shame that W. Columbia refuses to protect people from vicious dogs.

6/5/2017 and 6/16/2017 updates - On 6/5, W. Columbia animal control officer and two other people WITNESSED the largest of the dogs attack me - getting my foot in its mouth - as I bicycled by the property. I had to kick at the dog and dismount in the oncoming traffic lane. Almost fell. 6/16 - W. Columbia STILL refuses to issue a citation to the dog's owner, claiming this latest incident only counts as the first complaint since it's the only attack they've witnessed. I won't belabor the mind-numbing stupidity of W. Columbia's response.

I bicycle by this property, and the dogs first attacked me in December of 2016, coming into the road, teeth bared, getting within inches of my foot. I complained to animal control, and an employee came by my house, listened to my complaint, and said she would speak with the dogs' owner. I thought it kinda strange that I wasn't asked to sign anything, but I figured a warning would be sufficient for a first time

Another attack happened in January 2017, at which time W. Columbia no longer had an animal control department, and I was advised (via Lexington County animal control) to contact W. Columbia police, which I did. They assured me that they had spoken with the "elderly lady" who lives in the house, said the dogs belonged to her children who were out of town, and extra precautions would be taken to make sure the dogs were restrained.

In March 2017, one of the largest, most aggressive dogs came after me again, and I kicked and yelled at the dog while simultaneously riding my bicycle. So I complained to the police, informing them that this was my third complaint since December, but they refused to issue a citation to the dog's owner.

So I consulted an attorney who advised me to complain to Lexington County Sheriff's department, which I did via their website, but I didn't even receive a reply. Then I exposed the situation on Twitter and Facebook, which resulted in an ambiguous reply from W. Cola.

Then I sent an email to Lexington County Councilman Ned Tolar. His "method" of handling my complaint was to ask me to contact him by phone (I had emphasized that I didn't have a phone), and he refused to reply further by email. Perhaps Mr. Tolar doesn't wanna state things in writing. Then again, maybe that was just his lamebrained way of avoiding the matter. Or maybe there's some part of "I don't have a phone" that ol' Ned just can't figure out. Whatever, the jerk is one sorry excuse for a councilman. With the likes of Ned Tolar and Nikki Setzler in office, it's no wonder that government is unresponsive to people's needs.

At this point, it's anyone's guess what will happen next. Meanwhile, if you're in the vicinity of 727 Hook Avenue, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

6/4/2017 update - Found a Ned Tolar unstamped flyer on my mailbox yesterday encouraging people to email him about anything. Distributing flyers in such a manner is illegal, and of course ol' Ned didn't say he would email ya back... Probably won't do any good, but I filed a complaint.

5/26/2017 update - another attack by the largest dog coming into the road, teeth bared. Had to yell and kick at the dog while riding my bicycle. On my way back home, I saw a Lexington sheriff's deputy parked alongside the road, and explained the situation to him. He rode by the property and called W. Columbia animal control (apparently they now have one - maybe my tweets got someone's attention), and one of their vehicles showed up at the property. I told their employee what had happened (FOURTH complaint) but they continue to refuse to issue a citation to the dog(s) owner. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

5/12/2017 update - A reliable source says the problem revolves around W. Columbia relying in the past on Lexington County animal control, but deciding the cost of county service was too high, and pulling out of the deal. Sounds like W. Columbia and quite a few other entities need to be named in a lawsuit if someone winds up with serious injuries or gets killed due to animal attacks.

5/11/2017 update - My pleasure to tweet links to this post to the City of W. Columbia, the W. Columbia police department, the Lexington County Sheriff, and Ned Tolar. In Tolar's case, to make sure he got the message, I also sent him a link via email.