Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Buyer Be Ware!

GOOGLE the product name and the word ‘complaints’ before you buy.

People read Internet adds, view Internet photos and videos and plunk down big bucks without investing one-minute to read the complaints about products that are easily found with a simple GOOGLE search.

Although every product and service will likely have a few complaints, the minute it takes to read the complaints is worth our time.

Here is an example. A friend of mine in law enforcement was excited to tell me that he just received his Tactical Shadowhawk X800 Flashlight for $56 (it normally sells for $116 according to the company website). He told me about the amazing power of this flashlight and I asked him to show me the website where he made this amazing purchase.

My friend watched as I opened a new tab in my browser and googled the words “Shadowhawk X800 complaints” and watched my friends face sadden as he read the results. I clicked on one of the ‘Do Not Buy’ results of that google search and we read: 

“I believe this company, the subject of numerous BBB complaints is a previous incarnation of Shadowhawk. They've changed the name, but the product is still a rebranded Ultrafire 878 and the shady behavior combined with internet hype matches.”

It was easy to find hundreds of such complaints.
We visited the Ultrafire 878 website. The photo and specs were identical to the Shadowhawk X800 – the price tad $10.01!

This is only one example. Keep in mind that there will almost always be some complaints about a product. However, a few minutes of reading the complaints is well worthwhile.

Google can be an amazing consumer protection tool.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How Odd

How Odd

Every media outlet offers the same themes at the same time.
One week we are bombarded with stories about refugees. The next week we are bombarded with stories about racism in the police department. Occasionally, the planned news stream is interrupted by a catastrophe, but then the stories shift back to the coordinated focus that the rich and powerful media owners use to manipulate public conversation and thought.
Looking at today’s news headlines we see the ‘critical’ news of the day.

A judge in a province of China ruled against same-sex marriage. Now here is a story that the entire world must know!

Curfew imposed in Kashmir. This is important to those of us in Baltimore because we might have gone for a stroll in Kashmir and broken the curfew.

American woman jailed for insulting United Arab Emirates. The woman was jailed on February 23rd. Today, this is a lead story! Suddenly, 50-days after the arrest, this is an urgent story on news sites in America!

Oklahoma Lawmakers aim to increase cattle rustling penalties. (Important to ranchers in Oklahoma and cows everywhere).

My point is that although these stories may be of interest to us why are they the lead stories on aggregate news sites and in our daily newspapers.

Tomorrow, we could see a sudden shift in every news outlet’s focus. Tomorrow 80% of the news outlets could coincidentally run big stories about refugees, illegal aliens, or Donald Trump’s mismatched socks.

However, it is the repetitive stories that keep us under control. White vs Black, Hispanics vs Everyone, Refugees, Illegal Alians, building 'the Wall" are stories with a common purpose. Divide the masses and keep us arguing among ourselves so we do not notice the corporations, banks, and Wall Street tycoons laughing all the way to the off-shore bank!

We are being manipulated. It is our own fault. We gobble up tabloid soap opera like stories and we love any story that confirms our preconceived prejudices. We really are as dumb as the wealthy and powerful assume.

So why the coordinated ‘news’? The powerful cannot allow the masses to actually think. They cannot allow the masses to clearly see how the wealthy obtain and maintain their wealth. For example, they cannot allow us to demand substantial changes in banking laws, investment laws, or any changes that reduce profits. Most Americans will either shrug or deny that the American taxpayers can pay for more massive bailouts. In fact, the taxpayer bailout scheme is one of the best examples of our stupidity.

It is so easy to see the problems with using tax money to bail out banks and wall street investors and corporations. Think about the most basic facts.

When corporations, big investors or banks makes a huge profit, it is theirs! We have no problem with that fact. They earned it.
When corporations, big investors or banks lose a large amount of money, we cover their loss.

Imagine placing a huge bet at a casino and when you win, you keep the money and when you lose everyone else covers your loss! Wow! I want to go to that casino!

Yet, we see no media interest in producing a series of stories, similar to their coordinated effort to sway opinions about illegal aliens, refugees or White police officers shooting Black suspects. Again, I am not suggesting that these stories be abandoned, but where is the constant stream of media stories about the rape of the American taxpayer?

When the Internet and blogging came into being, there was a brief hope that the average Americans would engage in meaningful discourse. However, the media has so focused our attention and provided ‘proof’ that our prejudices are justified that we blog about what the media presents. It does not matter if we agree or disagree with the position of the media. What matters to the media owners is that we stay focused on anything other than those things that could interfere with the wealthy.