Carys Weldon Blog

Thursday, December 18, 2008

(Ranting!) Someone please shoot the dick who did this...

I swear, there is serious business afoot, and there are sexual innuendoes, and you need to hear them all! (And I'm not talking bad about our president elect or any other politician specifically. So, have no fears in that regard. You can venture forth. I've even got some pro-Obama economic plan links below.)

But that doesn't mean I won't be treading in waters you don't want to examine. Most of us try to ignore the aggravation of thinking about bills and loan companies and the like during our Christmas shopping season. We pretend they don't exist, at least for a few weeks, and figure we'll deal with it when the bills come in next month.

And then we groan with "Oh, joy. What a helluva way to start the new year. DAMN. What was I thinking?!?!"

Because, if hindsight were foresight, we'd know that buying those extra things for our loved ones didn't really make them seem all the more loving and grateful to you.

Or maybe you live in a world where people actually seem to appreciate all you do, and I'm just the one feeling depressed and unappreciated.

But I'm not blogging today to cry about that. I took my anxiety and depression pills, and a muscle relaxer. I'm, out, in, out.

The television's on. Oh, Gawd. They want me to get up off my couch and go down to their store, but there's nothing advertised that seems like a great deal.

But they still insist we shop til you drop, the holiday season is in full swing. Or so the advertisements hope to entice us...while the news gives us mixed reports about shopping being up or down, or up AND down. And how we need to "not live in fear" and just enjoy the season while it's all upon us.

However, if they ARE down, I wouldn't be surprised. Are you seeing incredible deals? I'm not.

I'm not impressed with the sales this year at all. I'm not seeing enough of a mark down. Twenty percent is barely noticeable. It makes the $53 set of shampoo and conditioner (that I would never buy for myself) barely discounted, and still over $40 bucks.

I slide through the clearance sections looking for things that are a decent price. Returning again and again, hoping something new has been put on the racks and shelves.

And, I think, I get angrier every year when I get up earlier and earlier the day after Thanksgiving to go stand in line and find I am five people to far back in the row to get the special deal because they didn't have that many of the precious items in stock.

One time, I went to Bass Pro to buy a rifle. It was a great sale. I was excited because I was actually only second in line when the doors opened. But guess what? They only had one and weren't giving out rain checks.

That particular phallix symbol went to the man who sprinted faster than me to the gun department. Like he needed another.

It's this sort of thing that makes people go "postal." They put a mandate a few years back. Stores are supposed to have at least five of their big lead sales items. Before, they could get away with only one.

But I've talked to store managers. They just "SAY" they have more, and that you missed it. But the peons, the people who really ake up America's working mass, that stock the actual shelves, that find the things you can't find on your own, they will tell the truth, that they only saw one in the back. Or, if five came in, they actually let store employees snag the purchase tags of all but one.

Really, if you work a store, shouldn't you get the best deals? And an employee discount on top of that?

If the masses of America rise up and start shooting the people in charge, the movers and shakers will have no one but themselves to blame. I ask you, who was responsible for the deaths and injuries when the NY Walmart store customers trampled someone to death? The people being pushed by the crowd behind? The people in front who didn't run faster? The guy for being in the way? Or the management that didn't have enough of those special items to assure everyone they would get one, so no one felt a need to mob, and trample? All of the above?

We, the American people, are being screwed again. I feel like it's literally gang rape after gang rape. Not enough of us are complaining in public places.

I know, no one likes a whiner. But geez, the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the grease.

And this time, we're taking it in the ass. (Please forgive the crudeness of this analogy.) The problem is, we're not all gay men with a prostate to be massaged from the inside out, therefore, most of us are not going to enjoy this latest back door rape.

Oh yes, that IS one of the reasons anal sex appeals to men. Why so many bend over. And the other end of the stick (hehehe) is that the guy on top gets to hold the other man down while he fucks him over.

The answer is yes, I DID get up on the wrong side of the bed. I am cranky about something. But it isn't about gay men. God love them. They, at least, are sensitive to a woman's feelings. And they understand why a woman wants to cry at "the drop of a hat." (Even when we, ourselves, aren't sure why we're crying.)

Men in general, maybe, are the butt end of this tirade. I'm sure the big world decisions that bother me regularly have everything to do with decisions men make that cause my little world to hit bumps in its rotation.

But maybe I'm blaming men wrongly. Tell me, do you know of any women who own the big financial institutions and credit companies of this world?

Yesterday, in my mail, I received a tri-folded little flyer from the company that holds my one and only credit card. It looked like the flyer that comes with every credit card or checking account bill. You know, the one that states the terms of the card in very small print and never looks like it's any different from the last ten or twenty you actually glanced at...?

Only on second glance did I see it had the terms of "How we're going to screw you royally, and just in time for the New Year and Valentine's Day!"

It was incredibly hard to swallow, I swear!
And I know I never got down on my knees and begged for THIS to be shoved down my throat.

I never said, "Oooh, do this to me one more time." I hear the Captain and Tennille singing. ( )

I'm angry over the stupid changes made to a Circuit City card I got about 25 years ago. An inane little card that I don't even have to flash when I go in the store. I just say my name, or my social security number, and they pull it up on the screen and add my latest purchases to it. How could something so simple, so OLD, make me feel like a "nigger at a hanging"...?

No offense to anyone (except the people who made the flyer I received.) But perhaps the offensive term will wake the world up, and make you realize how bad we should all be sweating, and fearing, what is going on now.

I knew that variable rates were going to become a nightmare when I first saw them. It is part of the problem we are now facing as a nation. They talk us into a low rate that is supposed to only be able to go up once every six months, and they reassure us that it can't go up too much, and we will be eased along the path to a higher rate. But loan officers assure us that there are no current plans to raise it.

Which, of course, was not true when the housing market and lenders jumped the interest rates. Some people ended up paying twice their original house payment, and the rising rates only took 6 months to a year.

But back to my analogy...
Just like days of old, when people of certain race, skin tone, or religious affiliations, were rounded up and hung, or shot, or massacred or enslaved, without being allowed to defend know, like the Mormons, or the slaves, or even the Puritans that escaped England, or the folks they victimized once they got over here.

Yeah, I'm effectively referring to every saint, sinner, and indian that ever walked this great continent. We are all being oppressed in one way or another. We know "they're gunning for us." But we're not exactly sure who it is that IS coming for us.

They are the nameless faces hidden in big boardrooms. They are the ones who make the decisions that rule our lives financially.

We can feel them coming, stealing our air, and our room to run, cornering us on reservations. Locking us in the bedroom. Chaining us in the back yard, like junk yard dogs.

(Are you with me? Or are all the rants over your head?)

Have you ever really thought about WHO makes you do the things you do? Is it your spouse? Do you walk on eggshells to keep them happy?

Or your kids? Are you afraid they'll stop talking to you, or withhold your grandkids from you?

Or your doctor? Are you afraid, if you say the wrong thing, he'll stop giving you the pain medicine you really, really need just to get through the day?

Or your parents? Doesn't matter how old you get, you struggle with trying to please them. Or ignore them.

If it's not your own parents controlling your decision making processes, or your spouse, or your kids, or the church you attend, it is definitely the govt that rules us all.

They pinch off a bleed in your femoral artery and turn around and amputate your toe, and let the blood flow from the less noticeable spot. Rivers of blood run with the injustices being put upon us. Financially, we cannot take much more.

Read my lips. NO NEW TAXES.
And let's repeal a few we already have in place.

When the autoworkers sat down to negotiate with the big car makers, they screamed that the real problem was the high taxes on gasoline the govt charges. The manufacturers wanted the workers to take cuts in wages.

But it't the big bastards and their exorbitantly high salaries that took advantage of the income, and marked up car prices. I heard one guy said he'd take only a dollar a year until some things were better under control. I ask, "What was the raping salary he took prior, so that he has enough in the bank that he can get by on only a dollar a year?"

I agree with the autoworkers, though. Some of the problem IS the high taxes. We pay almost forty cents a gallon in taxes.

And look at the price of gas right now. It, obviously, was inflated by more than twice as much in the last couple years. What sort of bullshit is that?

The same b.s. that allows lawmakers to not have to pay taxes, and serve only one term in office to earn a $60k or better retirement plan from that year forward?

We will eventually have to revolt. We are frogs put in cold water, but the water temperature is rising. We are cooking and not smart enough to jump out of the pot.

Taxation and finance charges of one kind or another, and persecution (religious or otherwise) are the reasons people have used since the beginning of time to overthrow their govt. Not that I'm trying to incite a riot. I believe that's already begun. But maybe I'm saying, think about what's coming, and be "man enough" to step up and join the rebels when the time comes.

Did you know this?...for the first time in the history of America, there IS a militia in every state in our union that is not run by the govt, that is a group of rebel soldiers (if you will allow me to call them that). They began organizing during the Clinton's first administration, and took up serious arms when he sold the piggy back missiles to China, and the states that were behind (with no organized militia) stepped up when he brought United Nations forces onto U.S. soil for the first time.

That was scary. It should strike fear into the hearts of all of us. Peace keeping troops are brought in from elsewhere to control the masses, because your own soldiers are less likely to shoot to kill if the need arises.

But I digress. I ramble. I run off on tangents. Let me, like the marauders in the woods, and on Capitol Hill, circle back through the trees so I can point out the yellow bellied backs of the people who are shivving us in the gut while serving us happy pills and champagne.

You were expecting a new change with the new administration? We're getting it. But it ain't gonna be what you were hoping for. It's more financial skimming for the fat jacks, and us little jills and hillbillies are gonna get, like depression families, thinner and thinner.

Remember my initial rave?...the flyer in my credit card bill? Sorry, but this particular rave doesn't come with E, the ecstasy drug that is so popular in dancing halls across America.

We can't even pretend to be blind, or passed out, for this date rape. We didn't even get a free dinner before it started...unless you went to your local Victory Mission or Salvation Army kitchen for Thanksgiving.

Surprised to find no bill in with the little do-dad flyer in an enveloped I recognized from my usual credit card bill, I actually perused the damn thing and was shocked to find that my rate was going up from an already high 22.9 to 26.9 in February, and I have until then to write a letter saying I am no longer using this card and thereby cutting it up or write the letter to say I am accepting the terms. If I am lazy and don't write the letter, the fees are going up on all future purchases.

THEY do this all the time. In tiny print, they state they are changing the rules and we have to do something if we want to stop it. Whatever happened to "this is what I agreed to and signed up for when I signed for my account and so this must be honored forever?" When, exactly, did the financial institutions get cleared to "change rates or terms with their whims"...?

Picture me staring blankly at the damn thing, muttering "What the hell?"

I mean, in a time when we're facing recession and a third of the American public are out of work and more are expected to lose their jobs (never mind the fact that my only job is writing fantasies!)...they are raising the rates even more? It seems inconceivable.

I feel like the poor young naive girl who got raped on her first date, and again and again every time she finally gave in and consented to go somewhere else with a boy.

Every damn single time I let one hold my hand. Go read this:

It talks about the bailouts and buyouts.

That card is owned by Chase, one of the many companies that's been on the list for handouts from our government. One that was going to go under, or needed to be bought out. I just gotta ask...wasn't the baleout supposed to keep the small folk from being cheated and skewered financially even further?

I got online this morning and the first thing I saw was the headline about interest rates being adjusted and how the changes in financial interests were supposed to be a help to us. See the article here:

It does explain what's going on. My point in talking about it is to say "HEADS UP, read that fine print that comes with any of your financial institution or credit card bills." The terms are changing. Even the institutions that were on solid ground are taking advantage of the new regulations--and us!

Here's a sad but true story:

Years ago, my husband and I opened five accounts with Bank of America, one for each of our children. When we signed up for our checking and savings accounts, and those kids' accounts, it was all free forever. Even the checks were supposed to be free forever. That was the first perk they got rid of.

Back then, I didn't read fine print. I assumed that whatever rules you signed up under were "grandfathered in to protect you."

But no, not so. After we began to pay for our checks, we were told that we should be able to understand that BoA realized the free checks forever hadn't been a great idea and they weren't making enough money, so they had to change that. The argument that "But this is what we agreed to when we signed up for this account" held no water, because it was one voice complaining at a time.

I'm a firm believer that united we stand, divided we fall. God bless Norma Rae, Erin Brokovich, and others like them who fought long enough and hard enough and loud enough to gain the attention of the world and see the changes for the good put into place for all who would walk in their footsteps.

Honestly, I need Jesus to carry me here. I'm weak. I'm wandering like Moses and the tribes of Israel, trying to see my way out of the mess I've gotten into. And I didn't even leave my house!

You gotta ask, "Where is God in all this?"
Our country's financial ruin is surely the work of the devil. Isn't it?
Or his minions, which, at this point, are wearing suits and look way too much like our elected representatives to the house and congress. Democrats and Republicans alike.

So, BoA screwed me out of free checks (you're thinking). So what?
The what part is...when a thief is robbing you, he's never happy to take "just your watch." He wants your wallet, your wife's jewelry, and your daughter's virginity, too.

Our savings account was the second place we noticed the BoA change in account status and fees. Some savings accounts have minimum balance requirements. We moved our money to BoA because they didn't, and kids under 18 were supposed to not incur a single account charge. We were poor folks with lots of kids. WE BELIEVED THE BILLBOARDS AND COMMERCIALS AND THE HANGING POSTER OUTSIDE THE BANK.

But BoA changed that little tidbit of account handling and unbeknownst to us (because I hadn't read the fine print in the flyer on the monthly statements), we suddenly found ourselves with BoA saying our savings account was in the negative and we owed them. I believe, at the time, they had suddenly started taking money for every withdrawal.

Now, you might be wondering, "Were you using an atm not at your own bank? Because they charge for that."

No. We were going to the drive up window to get the withdrawal. We lived in BFE Nevada. There was one bank in town, and no atms anywhere but on the bank property.

There was nothing on our receipts that said "By the way, we've robbed you blind again. With this wd, we took another five dollars." FIVE dollars per withdrawal. You're allowed, oh, three for free in a quarter and then it was in a billing period (30 days), and then it jumps to ARMED highway robbery. And it ain't no water gun, folks.

Of course, we threw a fit, and the bank manager waived the excessive fees, as she was explaining that all the accounts had been changed and we should always read the fine print flyers because those would outline the differences as they were being implemented. I think, at the time, you had 15 days notice. Someone fought that, and we got 30 days notice. But that didn't help the bank account that was in the red, solely for bank fees assessed per withdrawal.

Good news on one score, they NOW have to send those changes to you 45 days in advance of when they take place. And they now have to give you 21 days "late leeway" before charging you higher interest.

Back to my Bank of America story...the savings account had us checking our other accounts. Our free checking forever had been charged for those free checks we ordered, and for each one that came through-at fifty cents PER check. That was back in the day when I wrote a lot of checks. Like, say, literally a hundred or more a month. (I was a shopaholic and my husband made good money. So sue me!) But, I swear, it was mostly at dollar stores and places like Big Lots and Swap Meets.

Anyhow, am I boring you? There really is a point or two to all this.

The same week, I caught the CEO of BoA on a talk show. He was being interviewed because BoA was the fastest growing financial institution in the world. He laughingly admitted the reason was because of the fees they charged their customers. (That hasn't changed.)

I was horrified to see him admit it so readily. But maybe more so because I knew, in my heart and soul, that it was true.

We went to close all our accounts and found out that all of our kids' accounts, which had their birthday money and prize winnings from their Junior Rodeo year end awards, had all been confiscated by BoA. The free kids accounts had somewhere taken on exorbitant financial fees, monthly service charges that ate all their money up in just a few months. They tried to say we owed money for those, too. So, yes, I'm saying BoA ROBBED OUR KIDS.

Fit throwing in public has become one of my specialties when it comes to unfair thievery like this. You can rob me blind and I'll complain, and mutter, but go home without a huge fuss-- but get into the piddly little "life savings" my children have accumulated at our encouragement "for college" and I become the screaming banshee from hell, crying, ranting, wailing with a lot of gnashing of teeth and "How could you? Have you no conscience?"

I even dragged my kids in to look soulfully at the bank manager and ask, one by one, "Did you steal my money too?"

You might be saying, "Oh, no you didn't."
But yes, I did.

You might be saying, "You traumatized your kids like that?"
And I would say, "I taught them not to let someone get away with that sort of thing without making them, at the very least, look you in the eye." I also taught them to speak up and say, "This is wrong and you should be ashamed of yourself," when things like this happen to them.

And to read the fine print, and not assume the best of a bank, just because it looks like a respectable business--because a business is just that, a place looking to make a buck off of every customer or client that comes through the door.

But the bank manager had a job to keep and she looked them in the eye and said, "Well, honey, your account changed. We had to." To my oldest daughter, she had the nerve to add, "I would lose my job if I didn't do what my boss told me to."

My daughter replied, "So, you are okay with taking the twenty dollars my grandma and grandpa gave me for Christmas? Remember when we came in to get our accounts, and you smiled and said it was all free and you would take care of my money for me so I could go to college one day?"

That woman needed to be ashamed. She was the equivalent of the axeman at a beheading. The henchman doing the dirty work. And that kid never got to go to college because we, honestly, couldn't afford to send her after banks like BoA took our money.

I don't know how much more a bank branch manager makes over the tellers, but she was getting paid well to do that job. I hope she remembers that moment forever. But I think she felt justified, and it didn't really bother her.

I guess my point in relaying it is to say we should all "call people out" when they are "only doing as they were told."

Do you know that people spend more time in prison for stealing someone's money than for murder these days?

Long story short, we don't do business with that bank any more. We try to encourage people toward any bank but that one. When someone who banks there gives me a check, I go to their bank and cash it at the counter. I know a lot of people who've been robbed blind by them.

I ask the teller, "Can you check to see if this person has the funds in the account to cover this BEFORE I sign it and hand it over?" It's the only way I can do my part to keep my friends from being raped worse by that bank. Of course, a teller can't tell you their balance, and who wants to know it anyway? But sometimes, you can save a person a finance fee by calling them and saying "The bank said it wouldn't go through, let me trade you cash for this check and save you and me both the bounced check charges."

I dunno about you, but I don't have the cash to cover bad checks. That becomes a bounce-back nightmare. And, honestly, people who don't have enough money to cover the original check usually can't afford the bounced fees on top of it.

And, it seems, the financial bailout is just raping US more. My husband commented that someone had done the math and that multi billion dollar bailout could've been split up to give each American 4 million dollars. I think I noted this before the bailout.

I had to go look that up. Guess it was 3.5 mil each. See here:

I honestly think they should have done that. Imagine what we would have done to our economy if they'd done it that way.

Many people would have started businesses. We all would have been spending more. The majority would have brought all their loans current, or paid them off. It would have bailed out the financial institutions in a way that would have made us all happy.

But no. We didn't do it that way.

And, to be honest, none of us expected it to happen in the way fairytale dreams are made of. We knew it would just be another nightmare unfolding.

But you and I both know the US govt has always been in the business of acquiring small pinches from our wallets at a time so they can put away another big sum for future emergencies and bailouts.

I just wonder if there is an end to the hands being held out? I don't think so. And I think the bailout was inevitable, but a bad precedent to start.

The big three (car industry) were smart to jump in first, crying for help, insisting that they are the hub of so many jobs that will be lost in ripple effect if they aren't taken care of.

I say...they shouldn't have taken the majority of their manufacturing to Mexico. Or wherever. I feel the same about Heinz pickling elsewhere, and a lot of our computer makers outsourcing everything from small parts to customer service. I dunno about you, but I really hate calling a helpline and getting someone I can't understand because english isn't their first language. Ah, I digress to yet another peeve.

But then, I also say our congress shouldn't tax and regulate OUR companies to death. We should impose higher import taxes on the competitive brands being brought in from other countries, and even if the companies are American owned, but outsource, there should be an import tax.

I am constantly aggravated to know that it is cheaper for, say, Japanese honey to be bottled and shipped across the ocean, brought in and put on our shelves--than it is for our own honey farmers to bottle and put theirs on the shelf next to the Jap. brand. That IS ridiculous.

Ditto with the fact that every cow in America is inspected. (Not against that!) But only one truck in TEN bringing beef in from Canada is inspected.

On the same token, my husband used to love Rocky boots. The minute those puppies were outsourced to another country, and the Ohio plant shut down, he can't find a pair of their boots to fit him properly. You'd think they'd be made with the same templates and machinery, but something is different. AND the prices to consumers didn't go down.

Which phrase always makes struggle at swallowing. (pun intended, folks)

Tell me how they can build a new plant in another country, and move all the machinery down there, and import/ship the end product back into America, and it be cheaper for them? I mean, it was no surprise it didn't get cheaper for us, the American consumers.

But I think that boils down to them getting write-offs for expenses out, and being able to pay cheaper wages and shipping costs and not have to have their items inspected as thoroughly because they are from another country now. Our free trade agreements just screw us and help other countries.

I say COMPLAIN EVERYWHERE YOU CAN when you're being cheated, overtaxed, or railroaded into something you never initially signed up for.


While I am happy to hear that many Americans are getting their houses financed at better rates, I am terribly annoyed at the fact that those who managed to pay their loans on time and not get behind are unable to take advantage of the lower interest rates and special refinancing allowed by our govt bailout.

That wouldn't be me, btw.

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Posted by CarysWeldonblog :: 6:46 AM :: 4 Comments:

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I hope that you are feeling better today...Sometimes it helps to just get it all out, and I think you did yesterday. We were listening to you.. I agree with some of what you said.. But I have taken a positive lookout the past few months and I try not to think about the negative stuff anymore. I feel better about myself and others. I am even praying for the mother of my grandchildren. And she has been better to us, I still don't trust her but I try to understand her and the problems she has.
The kids are out of school again today but Rob is home. I didn't get up until 10 today.. It felt good.
I still haven't wrapped my Christmas presents.I have been babysitting and reading Christmas books. No time to wrap presents. I can't find your book Angel Bet that I bought at RT.. It must be in the trailer some place. I need to look again. I took it to read in the mountains and I didn't do much reading there. I went to your web site and was reading about up coming books Dark Lord series. When are they coming out???
I need to get dressed and do something today. Later.

By Blogger Brenda, at 9:07 AM  

Merry Christmas ALL..
I hope you have a good one. It is going to be a quiet one for us which is nice for a change.
We are about to float away today.. We are having a prime rib roast, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, brocci and cheese, corn, salad, homemade rolls, and date pudding.I didn''t go to WW because of the bad weather but I know a lost some pounds. Will have to wait until next Tuesday to see how much I have lost. I am feeling better, I need to remember that I feel better when I eat right. No PEPSI for several weeks, I still miss them, I can't stay diet pepsi.
Again Merry Christmas.
Oh, I am having a postive outlook not lookout. I need to proof read my posts.

By Blogger Brenda, at 10:10 AM  

I do have to say you have a point. I agree with everything except I try to stay away fromstores on that Friday

By Blogger Debby, at 6:04 PM  

Debby, you won my New Year's Eve contest/drawing for a gift certificate. Please select an online vendor like one of my publishers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ebay, etc...a place that's easy for me to purchase and send it to you via e-certificate, therefore easy for you to use online, as well. Congratulations! Email me at Put CONTEST WINNER in the subject line. Thanks!

By Blogger CarysWeldonblog, at 8:29 AM  

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