Mad Rants

The Unsavory Truth

Google Is The New Evil Empire

Written By: Victoria - Jun• 23•14

I’ve come to hate Google and especially Google plus in a very short time. They are truly an evil Empire. China is right in banning them. I originally thought China banned them for allowing too much “Internet freedom” to their people. But since I’ve had to deal with them, I understand how incompetent, invasive and megalithic they are.

Their monopoly on information and their attempts to monopolize further puts them up there with Walmart and other big companies that take over a market and then because there’s nowhere else to go (because they squashed the competition), they get away with anything they want.

Back in the 80s, it was Microsoft. They were so full of themselves and their power that when the US government sued them for unfair monopoly, Microsoft executives actually said “Does this government know who they’re dealing with?” Their hubris was so great that they thought they were more powerful than the US government, the European Union and any other government entity in the world. After all, they had successfully monopolized the personal computer market. Everything was built for Microsoft windows. They held an 85% share of operating systems for personal computers. Luckily, the US government and the European Union enforced their anti-monopoly rules and put Microsoft in their place.

When Google came along with their search engine back in the early 90s, I was happy because they had finally developed a search engine that was far more thorough than any of the others available previously. I wasn’t aware of their aim for world domination, and what a bunch of evil bastards they are.

Facebook has been the primary monolithic evil empire in the news for quite a few years. The multibillion dollar company has been called out numerous times for invading the privacy of their users and exposing their users to unwanted situations.

I am on Facebook, but reluctantly. The only reason I joined Facebook was because I needed to administer a couple of business pages on Facebook, and Facebook won’t let you do that unless you have a personal account on Facebook. I am not a Facebook fan. I have NEVER been a Facebook fan.

What a colossal waste of time it is. Don’t these people have jobs? Don’t they have lives? You would think their umbilical cords connect directly to Facebook! I don’t know how someone can spend so much time on that site.

I have absolutely no interest in the drivel that most people post on Facebook. I don’t give a shit that their dog just did this stupid trick, or that someone is mad at her husband, or that some right-wing nut job wants us to all gang up and hate Jane Fonda. (Yes, I saw that on Facebook.)

When I get on Facebook, it is strictly to administer those business sites. If I had to read all of the bullshit that people post on Facebook, I would just plain throw up. And recently, I’ve come to discover that Google plus is EVEN WORSE!

For a variety of reasons, I have had to deal with Google lately. First, a business associate and I were trying to do a video chat via FaceTime because we are both on Macs but for some reason he couldn’t do it on his end. He said the only way he could do it was via the video chat feature in Google plus.

I got on Google plus, and immediately hated it. I thought that the interface on Facebook was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Google plus is far worse. Nothing is intuitive. I have to search and search to find the smallest things, and then in some cases they aren’t even there.

Soon after that, I had to deal with Google Docs (another thing I hate) because when doing a search, I discovered that at least three places on Google Docs were pirating PDF copies of one of my books. This book is published in paperback and Kindle additions. It is not available as a PDF (legally) anywhere. So, I had to go through the arduous task of finding out how to contact Google to get them to take those “Docs” down. My first few attempts (using Google support system) didn’t work. Every time I clicked on a link in the Google help network that was supposed to take me to the site where I could report this illegal activity, I got the 404 page not found message.

Google does not even properly manage all of their links. Attempts to get help through their support network lead to many dead ends. I finally found a link on an external forum for authors that took me to the Google page I needed to report this piracy. After I filled out their lengthy form, giving them proof that I am the author and copyright holder, I got a message back from them.

The message basically said (paraphrasing here) “Thank you for reporting your copyright violation to us. We receive such a massive amount of these copyright violation reports that it may take us a long time to respond to your situation.”

That pissed me off to no end. Google was basically telling me that through their Google Docs system, they had empowered an enormous number of people to pirate copyrighted works and sell them or give them away for free. In fact, they had empowered so many people to do this illegal activity that they could not respond or repair the situation in a timely manner. (Google did eventually send me an email telling me they were in the process of taking down those piracy sites, but now I have to check about every 7 to 10 days to see if more people on Google docs are pirating my books.)

If I had the money to do it, I would file a lawsuit against Google for enabling illegal activity through their Google Docs system. They clearly don’t have any oversight on the system to PREVENT illegal activity. They only concern themselves AFTER the illegal activity takes place, and then only if someone finds out and reports it to them.

A week or two later, I ran across an article that said unless you do things properly with Google, people may be able to pirate your writings with impunity. I think it was referring mostly to your blog writings, but still an author’s writings are his/her bread and butter. So I was back on Google plus again! This time, it was to find out what my special URL is that was assigned by Google when I joined Google plus. I spent four miserable hours searching for it, to no avail. I even looked at several YouTube videos on how to find it, but those YouTube videos were made before Google completely changed their interface. So nothing on the current interface is where it was in those videos. And, now their interface has far fewer features than in those YouTube videos.

Once again, I could only access it by going through an external site and clicking on the third party’s link. The information was not available through any link in the Google interface of my Google plus account. Trust me, I tried them all. Three or four times each. I am not a novice computer user. I am able to successfully troubleshoot all of the problems that arise on my computer by myself. I have designed more than 50 different websites. I am intimately familiar with Internet technology. And yet, I can’t find shit on Google plus. It is one of the worst designed sites for usability that I’ve ever seen.

In addition, Google plus makes the HUGE mistake of trying to be a combination of LinkedIn and Facebook. They are trying to combine your business social links with your personal social links. I cannot think of anything more disastrous. Having seen what I have seen on Facebook, I cannot imagine that a respectable businessman or businesswoman wants to give you a close up view of their trashy, questionable personal lives while you know who they are in the business world.

I am a (mostly) happy member of LinkedIn. It is a social networking site for business. I have many good contacts there for the areas of business that I am involved in. We can share advice and help each other. We don’t try to get into each others’ personal business. Their graphic interface could use some improvement, but otherwise they are pretty good.

But on Google plus, they not only want to know your skills, experience, and areas of expertise (like LinkedIn), but they want to know what your relationship status is and other very personal info (like Facebook). Google plus even asks you what your mother’s maiden name is, for your profile. Anyone who is stupid enough to answer all of their questions truthfully is issuing an open invitation for personal identity theft.

I decided to click where it asked what my relationship status is because I wanted to fill it out with, “None of your fucking business.” Unfortunately, they only have a list of choices to choose from, such as “single,” “married,” and “it’s complicated.” Obviously, I am not providing any of that personal information on Google plus. I will not be complicit in helping Google plus expose my identity to theft.

John Boehner Needs To Grow A Pair

Written By: Victoria - Oct• 15•13

The Tea Party has hijacked the House of Representatives even though they only amount to about 15 or 20% of the members of the house. House Speaker John Boehner has acquiesced to this takeover. He is clearly more concerned about keeping his job than about doing what is best for the American people.

Boehner fears that the Tea Party will have an uprising in the house and vote him out as Speaker and/or primary him from the right in Ohio next election season. Because the Tea Party is so irrationally fanatical, extreme in their views, and refuse to compromise, Boehner knows they will come after him if he doesn’t give them their way. To be fair, other members of the Republican Party in the House are also kowtowing to these Tea Party lunatics. They also fear being primaried from the right.

However, about 24 Republicans have said they would vote with the Democrats to reopen the government. Boehner refuses to call a vote on a clean Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government.

He also refuses to pressure them into extending the federal debt limit. This is critical. This is not a joke. Boehner, it’s time for you to grow a pair and stand up to these crazy morons. They literally don’t know shit from Shinola. They have no real understanding of economic principles. They reject science and “book learning.” They aren’t smart enough to understand that they are literally jeopardizing the entire world economy. Most of them think everything will be taken care of via prophecies in the Bible.

If you let them default on the debt, the entire world will be in jeopardy. US Treasury Bonds have been the safest investment in the history of the world. There was never any question as to whether someone would get their investment back with interest when buying these bonds. Because of that, the United States enjoyed the highest credit rating possible. Lots of foreign countries and wealthy individuals buy US treasury bonds. China is the biggest holder US treasury bonds. They buy our bonds, essentially lending US money to buy their cheap Chinese goods.

Everything was going according to plan, with the U.S. being able to borrow what we need to finance the government — until two years ago when the Tea Party crazies threatened to default on the debt. Those threats, and taking it down to the wire caused the credit rating for the United States to be lowered for the first time in history. Of course, the insane Republicans try to blame Obama for this.

However, it was clearly the House of Representatives and its Republican majority that created that debt crisis. They refused to act until the last minute, and threatened default up until the last minute. That is what drove global markets crazy and caused the United States credit rating to be lowered.

Boehner, it’s on you. You need to get control of your party. You need to man up and show you actually have some balls. Quit cowering to the insane wing of your party. You know that if you let them default on the debt limit that all hell will break loose worldwide. And it will be your fault. Good luck getting reelected after that.

And this latest Bullshit idea of voting on the GOP’s house version of the bill and then leaving town to try to force the Senate to accept it is total insanity. If you do that, I can almost guarantee that the GOP will lose control of the house in 2014.

Get the Profit Out of Prisons

Written By: Victoria - Jul• 01•13

Our for-profit prison system will soon lead to a culture they would recognize in the Middle Ages. As long as prisons are run by corporations for profit, the emphasis will always be on incarceration and not on rehabilitation. Profit is to be made by keeping people in jail. There is no profit to be made in rehabilitating people. Yes, I recognize that there are hardened criminals who cannot be rehabilitated and it would be useless to try. I also know that there are some real bad guys out there that need to be in prison and off the streets. I am not arguing against prisons. I am not arguing against incarceration.

We clearly need them to protect the public. The prison system is one of the things that absolutely should not be done for profit. I know that in this day and age of people clamoring for smaller government, that contracting private companies to run prisons looks better from a public relations point of view because those employees running the prisons are employees of private corporations and not government. Therefore, it can create the illusion of smaller government. But that’s all it is, and illusion. It is still being run with our tax dollars.

There is a lot of evidence that for–profit prisons are creating a monster. (more…)

“Ag Gag” Must End

Written By: Victoria - Jun• 22•13

The so-called “ag gag” rules that prevent people from taping the horrendous animal cruelty that occurs on factory farms are endangering our public safety. In the past, videos of cows being shocked, turkeys being stomped, horses being burned with chemicals, piglets kicked like soccer balls have created enough outrage that there was finally some crackdown on these practices.

But the factory farms and their big-money lobbyists have found a response to this. They are making it illegal to tape and report these activities. They are getting around the animal cruelty laws by making it illegal to report the animal cruelty. (more…)

Social Media and Marketing

Written By: Victoria - Jun• 14•13

For a few years now, we’ve seen an ever stronger trend for businesses to add Twitter accounts and Facebook pages to their marketing efforts. In some cases, these businesses pay people who have large followings to tweet about their products. On Jimmy Fallon’s late night show, they have been running an experiment tracking Justin Bieber’s tweets. Bieber will tweet something banal (like “having fun”) and Fallon is following how many retweets it gets. Justin Bieber could tweet “eat shit and die” and it would get 200,000 retweets, because of the mindless brain dead followers he has. (more…)

True Corporate Morality

Written By: Victoria - Mar• 26•13

There is a group called “The Corporate Morality Action Center,” founded by a man named Thomas Strobhar. I would have thought by the name of the group that their concerns would be about corporations being good, moral “citizens” that contribute to the general good of society. Maybe addressing topics like corporations who make sure they don’t pollute, companies that provide extra benefits to their communities, or companies that pay a fair living wage.

But, if you visit their website, you will find that their primary concern is three issues: abortion, gay marriage, and pornography. These are SOCIAL issues. These are NOT issues related to corporate citizenship or corporate morality. The name is just a ruse to disguise hate, prejudice, and discrimination as a corporate responsibility. (more…)

Danger, Anti-Government People, Danger

Written By: Victoria - Mar• 20•13

I am sick and tired of all of the bullshit rhetoric I hear from all of these right wing nut jobs about how government is the enemy. Ever since Ronald Reagan said that in a speech years ago, these people have taken it as gospel truth. Government provides you with countless numbers of services that you aren’t even aware of. But I know you staunchly disagree.

I wish that all of you people who hate the government would have to live in a place where there is ZERO GOVERNMENT and ZERO OF THE THINGS THAT GOVERNMENT PROVIDES. It would be your worst nightmare. I know you think I am wrong, but I know you wouldn’t survive without a government. Not for long, anyway. (more…)

Religion is a Scam

Written By: Victoria - Jan• 07•13

I call myself an Antitheist. I don’t believe in a God person. I’ve never seen any credible evidence of an invisible master puppeteer in the sky, and cannot accept the notion that a person is watching over the nearly 7 billion people on the planet, and that he has opinions about how each of them lives his/her life, what they wear, who they fuck or what they eat. The two main components of Antitheism are non belief in God(s) and a belief that religion is harmful.

The late Christopher Hitchens wrote in Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001), “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.”

To be fair, there are some religions that don’t seem so harmful to me. Buddhism and Taoism come to mind. They are both Atheistic religions. (more…)

End Our Love Affair With Guns

Written By: Victoria - Dec• 15•12

We’ve had so many massacres in the US that it is becoming hard to keep track of them all. Schools, movie theaters, restaurants, shopping malls and beauty shops have all been venues for senseless mass killings. Our collective sense of safety is diminishing every day. I remember in the sixties and seventies, reading about all the public place bombings by the IRA. I imagined that people would be afraid to go out in public, like they are starting to fear here.

We MUST practice some common sense and do some things about guns in our country. At the very least, we must start these measures right away: (more…)

Congrats to Colorado & Washington

Written By: Victoria - Nov• 20•12

I’m really glad the voters legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in two states! In the case of Colorado, they already had figured out how to regulate growth and sales for the Medical Marijuana industry and liquor stores, so I’m confident they will figure it out for the recreational pot industry.

It will be interesting to see if “Pot-Tourism” springs up as a result. It certainly will be cheaper for Americans to go to Colorado or Seattle than to Amsterdam.

We’ve already seen hundreds of possession-only court cases dropped by the two states and their counties in the wake of the votes. The burden on our criminal justice system will be lighter in Washington and Colorado. Those resources can be used to go after real crimes now.

The fact that two states have done this gives me hope that he trend line on this issue is going in the right direction.