Sunday, December 20, 2015

Press “1” To Talk To A Live Terrorist

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2015: For countless months, I’ve been on the receiving end of harassing telephone calls. And while this is far less deadly than an actual terrorist attack, nevertheless, it is just one of the many ugly faces of terrorism.

In short, their tactic, via an opening robo message (usually delivered by a chipper, saccharin, bubbling over with congeniality female voice) is to offer their potential victims the options of pressing “1” to talk to a live terrorist or, by pressing “3”, to be removed from their calling list. Naïvely taking “her” words at face value, I made the tragic error of pressing “3”. Unbeknownst to me, I had just signed the death warrant to my peace of mind.

Indeed, therein began my plunge into their wretched cesspool, where psychological torture relentlessly rears its ugly head. These vile bastards had to have either been reared by savage, Republican parents or done their internships at GWB’s Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. Indeed, the robocall had to have been invented by some ruthless Republican (sorry for the redundancy re those two “r” words).

Whatever their “qualifications”, they next stepped up their barrage of phone calls to me to the point where I was getting up to three calls per day, every day… needlessly wearing out both my nerves and answering machine.

I tried passive resistance by shutting down my answering machine and not picking up my phone for over a month. At first the phone rang sometimes beyond twelve times, each call. But… eventually… my phone’s ringer and I got some much-needed relief and rest. Had they given up on me? Had I won my own private war against telephonic terrorism?

Not so. Upon warily reengaging my answering machine, within the hour, the very first recorded message snagged was from these bastards… and so round two of my troubles began.

On several occasions I even pressed “1” to rationally explain to them that, based on their very own robowoman’s set parameters, I was ineligible to be “helped” by them… that on that basis, alone, I should be removed from their call list. Their responses ranged from rudely hanging up on me to snottily defying me… one operator actually, gleefully promising me that I’d now be receiving even more phone calls from them! Which all begs this one word question…


The obvious follow up Q is…

Other than sating some twisted, sadistic need, WTF could they possibly gain by continuing to bother me? To emphasize this, I NEITHER HAD ANY NEED NOR WOULD I EVER HAVE ANY NEED FOR THE “SERVICES” THEY ARE OFFERING!

Folks, for three decades out of my life, I worked in the service industry, both in sales and management; meeting the public face to face on a daily basis. In all that time, no superior of mine (and I’ve had many) ever needed to explain to me that no one could ever force a customer into buying (whatever you may be attempting to sell). And even if you did somehow manage to browbeat them into seeing it your way, there’d be a high price tag attached. Eventually, said customer would resent you to the point of either returning ISO a refund and/or never coming back to buy from you again.

And… for the record…

THESE PHONE SCAMMING TERRORISTS ARE NOT PROVIDING ANY SERVICE TO ANYONE! They’re out to trick gullible people into providing their social security numbers and other sensitive personal data… SOMETHING ONE MUST NEVER, EVER DO! I can only pity those who’ve fallen for their relentless sales pitch from hell.

Getting back to my story, now, these terrorists wound up pissing me off so much I even pressed “1” to unleash my justifiable anger, which seemed to please them no end. Realizing that that approach had had no effect on them, I weighed my options.

To get real, here, about the only thing about this landline (which was still mine) was the monthly bill… which meant I was actually paying for my own torture… and that had a thoroughly nasty ring to it.

I next considered calling the phone company and telling them to disconnect my landline. But, that option saddened (perhaps overly) sentimental me because this was the same phone number that had been associated with my family name for over half a century… the very phone number I had memorized as a five-year-young boy.

I just didn’t have the heart to do that… so… I went online to confirm that I was still on file in the National Do Not Call Registry’s database. Turns out both my landline and cell have been listed for nearly a decade. That’s when I noticed their menu options included registering my complaint against my tormentors.  And that’s exactly what I did.

In the waning hours of that same day, the phone rang again. Glancing over at the clock it was still before 9 p.m., so, the window of opportunity for more abuse still existed. I even considered letting my answering machine field the call… but… just before it got to the fourth ring I picked it up. Time seemed to freeze.

Palpable was that moment of hesitation, both the caller’s and mine. Then I heard a female voice. No, not that damned robovoice... this was a real, living, breathing person. And, judging by the telltale breaks I was hearing, I knew she was on in years. She softly, tentatively asked to speak to someone. I hadn’t heard her all that well so I asked her to repeat the name. I then informed her she had reached the wrong number.

Normally, I’d have simply hung up at that point … yet something told me not to… she went on to tell her story… how she had so wished to talk to her friend this holiday season… and now… she’d not be able to.

Hearing that tugged at one of my heartstrings. It hadn’t been all that long ago that I had been caregiver to my aging and ailing parents. And so, I told her I had a phonebook and might be able to help her figure out what was wrong.

I asked her to spell out the first and last name, provide the address and city, etc. Oddly enough, the person she had tried to call now lived in my lifelong, small hometown and on the very same street where I had lived for the first seven years of my life. There went that second heartstring tug.

Leafing through to the correct page, my first try was to no avail. When I told her she sounded even sadder than before. That’s when I spotted another less conventional phonebook on my shelf… this one’s phone numbers were listed by the streets, which the people live on. I told her I was not ready to give up.

Lo and behold I had located the person she had tried to call. It turns out she had transposed a couple of numbers in the street address and, as for the phone number, itself, while the last four digits were identical to mine, she had an incorrect three digit prefix.

As I read all the valid information to her, she muttered that her pen wasn’t working too well. I told her to take her time and, this time, more slowly reread off everything to her. She was profuse with her thanks and we wound up wishing each other Happy Holidays.

I had no sooner hung up than the deeper significance to what had just happened started to sink in. I had a complete stranger to thank for restoring my belief that there still is a spark of decency / civility left in our world.

Just look at what Robocalls have done. Personally, I cannot help but wonder how many genuinely important phone calls I may’ve missed when I stopped accepting them for over a month. Looking at the deeper ramifications, Robopcalls have become a major reason why people are cutting the cord to their landlines.

By doing so, I believe we’ll wind up cutting ourselves off from our global community… extinguishing our, for the common good, spirit. That’s something that should run high, not only during the December holidays… not only in one’s hometown… but on each and every day in every corner of our world.

Epilogue: The very next day, my phone rang once… and then abruptly stopped. Within seconds, it rang again… this time twice… and then abruptly stopped, again. Had my lodged complaint to the National Do Not Call website resulted in their somehow blocking these harassing robocalls? 

Of course, my claiming victory may be premature. After all, even the wicked need rest sometime, right? Or maybe they've just been too busy throwing a hot holiday party in their boiler-room. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Terrorism: The Recipe For Humanity’s Extinction

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2015: My wandering through the potential battlefield, which makes up my small corner of our world, has rendered me war weary… fourteen years post 9/11, eventually, does take its toll on morale. Let’s not mince any words, here. When it comes down to terrorism, a warzone can erupt anywhere / anytime.

I do expect to die or become seriously wounded, someday, in some terrorist attack in the not too distant future. Under such dire circumstances, Patrick Henry’s words, “Give me liberty or give me death” have never, before, seemed so appropriate.

Considering how restoring liberty and sanity in our post 9/11 world has now become an utterly hopeless prospect, maybe… just maybe… the one and only thing that can liberate us is what liberates us from life? Perhaps, in killing us, terrorists are doing us a favor? I mean who the hell wants to co-exist amidst the foul, living hell they are serving up to us... now on a daily basis.    

FYI: For those who are unfamiliar with my blogging “style”, what follows is sarcasm. So, let’s wander off to see what’s “cooking” in our global “kitchen”…    

The Recipe for Humanity’s Extinction

STEP #1: Assemble the main ingredients. Either bastardized Christianity or mutilated Islam will suffice. Procure potential patsies / disciples (especially those in possession of intracranial, malleable gray clay).

STEP #2: Secure the proper mixing bowls / cauldrons. Either regimented terrorist cells or nonaffiliated lone wolf operations will do. They can be found in far off exotic lands and even in hometown neighborhoods… all across america. 

STEP #3: Whip up ingredients to form one hell of a smoldering, seething deadly concoction. Ensure you’re EITHER starting out with the pre-mixed “hearing voices in their heads” unfortunates (those suffering from a preexisting screwed up brain chemistry) OR, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, try scrambling their brains by using external mind control. Speeding up this latter process are the “invaluable” catalysts such as the vomited talking points of slobbering knuckle-draggers such as…

A. Sanctimonious, pickpockets of the impoverished, charlatan televangelists.
B. Harebrained, hatemongering, fear mongering FOX talking head propaganda ministers.
C. All of 2016’s asinine, archconservative, xenophobic, GOP POTUS candidates.

Combining A, B or C in any permutation (even all of them) would prove most efficacious.

STEP #4: Arm to the teeth this no-bake recipe’s mixture of insurgents and pour out into the appropriate “vessel”. For best results try america’s debased, bullets flying, anything goes, NRA gun-sick society.

Yes… you read that right… this is totally no-bake because, if you’ve done everything “right”, the resultant embroiled tempers will provide more than enough “heat”.

STEP #5: Sit back and watch this terrorist batter rise up, before your very eyes, to endlessly batter their victims. Serve while piping hot!

Oh… BTW… be sure to serve with a Pepto-Bismol® chaser.

And, just to ensure all your bases are covered, do have the ERs and gravediggers, worldwide, on stand-by alert.

Needless to say… this is the recipe to die for... and we're cooked! Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We’ll always have Paris…

My heartfelt condolences go out to the surviving families and friends of the 129 victims who perished in last Friday’s 11/13 terrorist attacks in France. I wish recoveries (to the fullest possible extent) for the 352 injured innocents (99 of them critically wounded). Please know that we, who lived through 9/11, feel a strong sense of what you must be going through…

To my reader(s)… please… pause a moment to contemplate this grim event; imagine the physical pain and suffering, which the victims had endured; think of someone near and dear to you and then consider what it would be like to never, ever see them again.

While I have considered how it might be too soon to post the content below… if we, as a global society, ever hope to take our first baby steps towards eliminating terrorism, we must gain a better understanding of those who perpetrate these acts.

Due to my staunchly believing in nonviolence, I suppose that does put me at a “disadvantage”. All I can say is consider my theories and ideas to be a starting point from which better ideas may, someday… blossom and flourish… 

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2015: World “leaders” simply do not get it. To “defend” their nations against terrorism, they first resort to shooting off their mouths and then back up their knuckle dragging bluster by engaging in obsolete, worthless, WMD warfare. True, media coverage of their slaughtering people by blowing up real estate in foreign lands does give the illusion of being decisive, high and mighty… BUT… illusion is the qualifying word.

Worse yet, buried amidst all that basically pointless, retaliatory carnage and rubble is the glaring paradox. After all, this does not act as a deterrent; this only serves to embolden other terrorists. After all, is not slaughtering people by blowing up real estate in foreign lands precisely what terrorists have been doing all along?

This is the same and I can prove it. It did not even require retyping my words. There’s no limit to the number of times of I can repeat the copy and paste function, thusly…

slaughtering people by blowing up real estate in foreign lands
slaughtering people by blowing up real estate in foreign lands
slaughtering people by blowing up real estate in foreign lands

… but… I will stop at three… I mean, you do see how, not unlike unthinking, cold, calculating computers, world “leaders” are responding to terrorists with mindless, eye for an eye vengeance. And all that accomplishes is unleashing a mindless, eye for an eye vicious cycle; one, which can and will…
go on… and on… and on… and on… and on… and on…

By now I can virtually see my reader’s / readers’ eyes rolling; hear the accompanying exasperated “Q”, “Are you saying that world leaders should do nothing to defend their people?”

Of course not. There is nothing wrong with protecting against future attacks… BUT… in this instance… the best defense is a well thought out defense… NOT a strong offense. Go ahead; shore up your shorelines, borders, cities, airspace and cyberspace; secure strategic governmental areas, military bases, police / fire stations, hospitals, power / communication grids and other infrastructure. Militarize whenever / wherever the state and local authorities cannot get the job done. Going beyond that…

Considering how terrorism is best fought on the “battlefield” between the ears, winning over minds becomes paramount. If we had truly inspired leaders, who were using their smarts, they would not be resorting to smart bombs. They’d be thinking deeper; rooting out terrorism’s root cause. It’s not all that tough to figure out.

It has been the unrestrained upward redistribution of wealth, on a global scale, which has impoverished humanity for countless generations. Elitists, the wallow in wealth ilk, could’ve never attained such a lofty financial stratum without standing atop a heap of dead and dying, average Jane and Joe commoners.

Money junkies have EITHER been oblivious to the damage and anguish they’ve been inflicting upon the masses OR they’ve been deliberately, perhaps even sadistically doing so. Either way, they’ve been planting the seeds of discontent amongst the general masses; condemning the billions who they trample into a condition of foodlessness, joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness.

Hungry people with too much time on their hands become putty in the hands of terrorist recruiters. All they need to do is first feed their trainees’ stomachs and next feed their heads. And once these budding terrorists understand that smug, domineering, wealthy, bloodsucker bastards have been condemning them to lives of misery, is it so tough to understand how and why (just to cite a few examples) there was no shortage of personnel on hand to staff the 9/11, Benghazi, Boston Marathon and Paris attacks?

Ironically, it is oft the poor, innocent folks who’ve become the collateral damage of kamikaze pilots, suicide bombers and snipers. That’s because the terrorist world casts a dim view upon voters who (via majority rules) install tin god dictators (such as George W. Bush) (yes, even in spite of the fact that 49 percent of their victims hadn’t voted for such a-holes).

Fast forwarding to the not so distant future of January 20, 2017… what if… we wind up seeing that filthy rich piece of… uh… work, Donald Trump, placing his hand on the Bible and being sworn in as the next POTUS; Trump, the personification of greed and aggression; Trump, who, in one of his recent campaign speeches, outlined his flippant, two word foreign policy sound bite (re ISIS), “Bomb ‘em!”

No doubt, ISIS has been hitting their DVR playback buttons and using Trump’s tirade as a “training film”; have been exposing him to their trainees as the “typical american”. And that can only serve to further ignite hatred towards U.S. citizens. Win or lose, Trump’s insane bluster has painted huge red bulls-eye targets on all our backs.

Trump is totally incompetent if he thinks that olive drab garbed bombardiers can ever totally end terrorism. Extending the olive branch is light-years beyond his capabilities. That far better latter approach would require a Democratic POTUS, oh… say… former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (one who possesses the sensitivity, intellect and experience re foreign affairs). And, re diplomacy… lest I forget… I must ask…

Has anyone ever actually stopped to ask al Qaida and/or ISIS exactly what their terms are; what the world would have to do to get them to stand down?

If this involves simply getting our grubby little hides out of the Middle East, why the hell not comply? We must learn to respect the fact that foreign entities do reserve the right to choose who (and who doesn’t) visit and/or take up permanent residence.

If Middle East nations demand we hand over war criminals such as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfield… I say good riddance to bad rubbish. 

Of course, considering how much and how long the U.S. has enraged the Middle East, indeed, engaged the entire world in class warfare, perhaps it really is too late for peace talks. It is quite possible that terrorist organizations will settle for nothing less than death to all their enemies… in which case… we are totally screwed.

In that event… we had better get used to it… terrorism won’t be going away, ever…

We’ll always have Paris…