Please Telus How to Buy Internet from You

Aug 19, 2013: After (another wonderful) summer in Nova Scotia, I cancelled my Telus Mobility month by month wireless internet contract. Paid off the bill – in full per what I was told – via the credit card Telus had on the account. Received email from Telus confirming payment and cancellation.

A year goes by: No phone calls, mail or email from Telus.

Not one.

Jul 16, 2014: Tried to reactivate service in the store. Was told (politely) that my previous bill was unpaid and I had been taken to a collection agency. I would have to pay up before I could have any internet.

Jul 16, 2014: Called Telus. The unpaid bill is for “Aug”. Contrary to what they told me last year at cancelation-time, I had only paid for Jul.

Jul 17, 2014: Called the collection agency. They’ve never heard of me.

Jul 17, 2014: Called Telus. Apparently, they meant to take me to a collection agency, but didn’t. They don’t know why. Tried to pay up with the same credit card they had charged at cancel last year. Can’t do it – US credit cards need to be “registered in the system”, which I was no longer now that my account was in written off state.

Telus suggested I wire them the money. More than “suggested”,  they helpfully pointed out that they could take me to a collection agency at any time.

Jul 18, 2014: Wired Telus $73.14.

Jul 19, 2014: Tried to reactivate in the store. Was told (politely)  that sometimes it takes up to 3 months for a bad actor like myself to be allowed to do business again with the Telus,

Jul 21, 2014: Called Telus. They hadn’t received the payment. I asked if this was normal given that wired money should be fast. I was told that in the case of someone taken to collection, this could take 10 days. After I explained that the payment was to Telus directly,  I learned that they may have the payment, but it can take upward to 5 business days to credit it to my account. After Thur of this week, we would – collectively – know if the payment was received or lost.

To be continued …



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A&E’s Statement re: Phil Robertson Suspension, Rough Draft

As a joint venture between Disney and the Hearst Corporation, A+E Network’s core mission is to incubate diverse content in an era of rapidly fragmenting audiences. We exist both as a firewall between Disney’s highly curated family brands and as a pipeline of material that might become valuable in a world where the Kardashians are a sought after brand.

As hard as this is to believe.

This is why we put the duck clowns on the air.

It came as a great surprise to us, despite having edited out many of hours of video content that in retrospect was a clue, that Phil Robertson lives what he says he believes. Once GLAAD got in the picture, our options were limited. GLAAD, an organization that honed its PR skills spreading the lie that AIDs was as much danger to heterosexuals as it was homosexuals, explained that they had moved beyond mere “education”. And that we could choose between Nancy or Phil. Unless we delayed. In which case they’d just have us both.


On a stick.

A shitstick.

More terrified than glad, but confident that celebrities would rather publicly castrate themselves than face living normal lives, we suspended Phil. The play was simple: Take a week off. Make a statement about how your views “have evolved”. Express regret that someone, somewhere, entirely out of their and your control may have taken offense to something. Somehow. Easy. Everyone wins.

But the duck clown didn’t get it. The duck family didn’t get it. What do you expect from southern christian hunting duck clowns.

So now we have to grovel to the duck clowns, to the wonderful and gracious GLAAD, to Cracker Barrel, and to all those rednecks on Clownbook. 

Thanks for nothing.


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Smart Liberals, Dumb Conservatives

I just finished up a 3 year tech project in the private sector. For the last year I’ve been accountable for all development on the project.

Compared to

  • The system does more. Much more.
  • We built it for less money. A lot less money.
  • It worked at larger scale out of the gate.
  • It worked out of the gate.
  • It continues to work.
  • It didn’t ship with a mountain of design and implementation debt.
  • We changed our plans when we got feedback that we got it wrong.
  • We didn’t lie about it.

These are not exceptional accomplishments for the private sector. In fact the vast majority of projects of this size work. The ones that have value continue to exist and grow. The ones that don’t disappear and the resources are reallocated (except, perhaps, in the case of chatroulette and twitter).

Yet we are told that we should allow the federal government to run all healthcare because they will do it faster, cheaper and with better quality.

To doubt this is evidence that you are lacking compassion, basic intelligence, watch too much FOX and are probably a racist.


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Terrorist Anarchist Hostage Taker Teabaggers Defeated – Adults in Charge Again (was: Loose Money and a House of Cards)

Washington is finally working together, to keep the country moving.

Obama has reduced the deficit.

We can borrow more money. A lot more money.

Borrow from who?

The mechanism of federal government borrowing is to sell treasury bills. The buyer of a bill loans the government their money, for a period of time, and gets their principal and interest back in the future. The value to purchaser is that the US government is the most secure investment in the world, as judged by historical economic and political stability, growth and aggregate wealth of the country.

Except it hasn’t been working like that for a while now.

Every month, the Unites States of America issues treasury bills that nobody wants to buy (at the offered interest). So the Unites States of America buys them, using money that it creates from thin air.

This interesting innovation in monetary policy allows the government to avoid doing what used to be considered normal, to offer treasury bills at an interest rate people want to buy them at. The economic principal is that market bond rates reflect real risk, and place a backstop on excessive borrowing.

Interest rates, for banks and government are effectively zero. Like they have been in zero growth Japan for the last 20 years.

Why do they do this?

Because we now owe so much money that if when interest rates rise, the interest payments will balloon to a significant amount of the tax collected, requiring cuts in spending or massive tax increases.

This graph shows the difference between what the federal government collects in taxes, and what it pays out, adjusted for a hypothetical 2%, 4% and 6% increase in treasury bill interest rates, starting in 2006:


This graph shows the same effect on the total federal debt:


Debt is only “free” if rates stay at zero.

No big deal. We’re America and we can just keep doing whatever these geniuses are doing because we’re America and the geniuses are doing it again.

Normally loose money like this is inflationary: it causes wages and prices to rise (with no increase in the underlying value of labor or goods),  and the value of the dollar to fall relative to other currencies. The latter is certainly happening, and is reflected in the price of gas.

But traditional inflation is not happening. What is happening is all this “extra” money is chasing one asset bubble after another. Tech, housing, gold, now stocks. Each new bubble creates new winners and losers in what has effectively become a rigged casino. The house (banks) take a vig and always win. The super rich and the insiders clean out the middle class and the poor get poorer.

Hope and change.

Ironic, eh?

This doesn’t end well.


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Eugene Robinson’s First Draft

While Republicans were throwing their silly tantrum, Obamacare became a fact. There is no turning back.

Progressives know that there is no better way to expand the reach and control of a peaceful government than to make people dependent on it for their very life, and to destroy alternatives. And the point of Obamacare, to be sure, is exactly that.

The legislative and bureaucratic excesses needed to pass and ram this thing down the throats of the country will certainly result in a GOP supermajority in the future. But no matter, because other countries have demonstrated that a dependent country cannot unwind the dependency, and future governments will fight over who can best manage a sprawling, failing system.

Fuck you, suckas.

Many people oppose Obamacare now, but soon the country will be dominated with low skill, low wage unemployable people wanting someone else to pay for their healthcare.

Fuck you, suckas.

One of the brilliant deceptions of Obamacare, that we used to ram this thing down your throats is that we can sell it as a private system, unlike the hated by knuckle-dragging, gun-clinging, bible thumping Midwesterners who fear the Canadian and British “government” systems.

Of course, the system we have created is unstable. As it collapses, we will replace it with single payer.

Then we can really start to control costs by rationing care.

Fuck you, suckas.


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The End of Reason (or: The Dawn of Feelings and Bullshit)

The middle class in America, by American standards, is hurting. The rise of cheap Chinese manufacturing, the regulatory straight jacket imposed death of large civil engineering projects and rich white liberals’ self-indulgent and hypocritical war on energy all contribute to now chronic middle class high unemployment. White liberals’ war on marriage and fathers has produced impressive results as measured by the growing count of fatherless children and mothers dependent on a dwindling supply of tax payers. But the largest contributor to this mess is the bizarre wealth transfer that took place as politicians and central bankers turned the country into a gambling casino where everyone won with debt and easy money on a historically grand scale. People owe money on houses that were purchased at prices they were not worth, could not ever be paid for at the purchasers’ incomes, and will only decline in value now.

White middle class Americans are lucky, as they are – so far – less far down the progressive road championed by liberals toward the dependence and broken homes. Black unemployment, absent fathers, poverty and violence in this demographic is truly tragic. The urban American black community is where white liberals are taking the entire middle class now.

Barack Obama is the cure, we are told. His solutions?

  • Massive increases in debt and easy money, in an attempt to re-inflate the housing bubble to the unsustainable levels that caused the crash.
  • More regulation on everything, with a special focus on restricting supply one of the main ingredients of a modern economy – energy.
  • More pop culture denigration of marriage, fatherhood and Christian tradition.
  • The encouragement of racial and gender animosity, paying off now in real racial violence.
  • Promotion of fringe sexual issues over substantive issues like the economy, debt, unfunded forward commitments and geopolitical instability.
  • Using the force of law to remove individual choice and replace it with bureaucratic doctrine.
  • As president, ignoring the law and normalizing a proto-monarchy.
  • Importing substantial numbers of low skilled people with a much higher than average dependency on other taxpayers money into the country for the sole purpose of getting democrats reelected forever.

And yet to oppose the policies of Barack Obama automatically makes one a mean unscientific racist. Intelligent conversation about the intent, cost and outcome of white liberal policies would expose them as a mixed bag at best and a disaster at worst. It is better to preempt such though entirely by attacking the motives and intelligence of anyone who doesn’t buy the liberal orthodoxy whole hog.

And liberals are the open minded ones.

Al least these attacks are a rational, intelligent strategy to gain and hold power over other people. Ethically suspect and hypocritical, but deliberate and planned.

But America is moving beyond rational. Many people support and defend Barak Obama not because they believe his policies are effective, but because his intentions are good, because he is black or simply because he is cool.

93 percent of black voters voted democrat in the last election. No thinking person can make an argument that 93% of blacks voted policy or outcomes. Many Asians voted for Obama out of a sense of identification with him as a minority. And women, because they believed  – against all evidence - that Barack Obama cared more about women than Mitt Romney did.

The historic accomplishment of Barack Obama, beyond lurching the bureaucracy hard leftward and destroying individual freedom on a large scale is to complete the transition to voting and governing based on more on feelings and imagination – like Obama’s old girlfriends–  more than on objectivity or results.

History teaches us that it is always the caring left that descends into authoritarianism. By far the most frightening thing in America today is how many people the democrats have convinced that they are on the side of liberty.

It’s surreal.


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Macroeconomics for Dummies in the age of Bullshit, Hold the Bullshit

Most thinking people correctly understand government to be not just “the things we do together”, but a system that confiscates property from some people and gives it to other people.

For many decades, this process was explicit. Taxes were collected from some and given to others.

Welfare transfers wealth from working middle class families to mostly unemployed poor families. Later, as the long term effects of welfare and the liberal attack on families took effect, the transfer was from working middle class families to unemployed single mothers.

Medicaid transfers wealth from working middle class families to unemployed poor old people.

Social security, on the surface, transfers wealth from working middle class families to unemployed old people. But due to an bookkeeping fraud that would land a CEO in jail, the story is more complex. Assume in one year the government collects a total of $100 from all social security payroll deductions, and pays out $75 to seniors. Social security was designed from to collect vastly more taxes than are paid out. The $25 goes into the general fund, where is it spent on Welfare, Medicaid, military and other things. A note is made that the “trust fund” is owed $25, to be spent on social security in the future. The money is gone, but the commitment and expectation to pay it in the future remains.

The trust fund doesn’t exist.

Social security was the beginning of the truly massive transfers of wealth from future generations to current generations that are too common now.

Bush amped up the generational wealth transfer with deficit spending - borrowing – as we correctly understand it. In amounts much larger than can possibly be paid back. Ever. Deficit spending is what is ruining Western Europe in slow motion.

But the real action is in monetary policy.

One of the jobs of the government is to maintain a “stable dollar”. The mechanism of doing so is to add or remove dollars to the economy via bank lending so as to as to keep the purchasing power of dollar more or less constant. The federal reserve watches the price of a set of goods and services and adjusts the money supply accordingly. The problem is that in the post Clinton economy – the last the adults were in control - the economy hasn’t responded in textbook fashion.

The money supply has increased due to deficit spending and monetary policy but the price of many goods and services has not increased. This is likely the result of the downward pressure on wages from globalization, and increases in business efficiency due to computers and the internet. But all that extra money is creating asset bubbles, which subsequently collapse. These bubbles transfer far more wealth than any of the traditional programs.

And they are completely out of control.

The stock bubble was a preview of the damage that would be done by the housing bubble. The housing bubble transferred amounts even greater than a life’s savings from some working middle class families (the ones holding the bag with underwater properties and huge debt), to other working middle class families (the lucky ones), and to the financial and construction industry.

The Obama administration, unable to reverse the multi-generational impact of the wealth transfer caused by the housing bubble collapse, is trying to re-inflate the bubble by doubling down on the Bush policy with truly frightening amounts of both deficit spending and expansionary monitary policy.

This is currently causing a transfer of wealth from old people with fixed income investments to stock holders (the current bubble). But the largest transfer is to parents from their children, and from their children’s children, who will inherit a mountain of debt, chronic high unemployment and a stagnant economy.

Obama of course doesn’t tell you this. He blames the rich. In his worldview there is enough wealth for everyone, but the rich are hanging on to too much of it. Given the magnitude and complexity of the US economy, this is a believable explanation.

It seems reasonable. The rich have nice cars.

It is of course wrong. The math doesn’t work. Not even close. And the next bubble will be the entire United States of America.

This is what the baby boomers, insatiable greed and bullshit have done to us.


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