Not To Do

ED’S Not To Do List

    Everyone has a "To Do" list, but not everyone has a "Not To Do" list. Therefore, I decided to make one. These are basic things that all people should not do, so as not to get screwed.

1. Do not answer surveys of any kind.
The reason is that Corporations will use your "likes" and "dislikes" against you. They can more effectively create marketing strategies to sell you things you don’t need. If Corporations know what the public thinks they will also find out HOW the public thinks. This is more dangerous. It tells them, what they can get away with and what they can’t. These days, they can get away with just about everything. Keep them guessing at all times. Break up your routines. They will have no choice but to do things properly and correctly because they cannot predict what an incorrect course of action may cause.

2. Do not respond to telephone solicitation of any kind.
For obvious reasons, the caller may not be who they say they are. Furthermore, they may not be from the Company that they say they are. A lot of fraud has been committed through telephone solicitation. Secondly, it could be someone trying to glean information from you for some very illegitimate purposes. Can you say "Identity Theft"? Lastly, it could be a legitimate person from a legitimate Company running a survey, in which case refer to rule #1.

3. Do not expect something for nothing.
We do have the bad habit of thinking that things are still free. That people still give things away from the goodness of their own heart. This is more and more unlikely for every day that goes by. Once again, fraud comes into the picture. Although more likely to be committed by an individual(s), than a Company. A common "trick" used by Companies these days, is to offer something very useful for free. Once everyone has one or can no longer do without it, they begin to apply charges for its use. Sure, the Companies may lose some money in the beginning, but they quickly make it up afterwards. Think about debit cards and instant tellers. Remember when transactions were free? As a matter of fact, they have not begun to charge for debit purchases at retail stores yet but I’m willing to bet it’s on the way. Let’s not forget that the whole system is automated. Machines don’t sleep, eat, get sick or make mistakes, yet Companies charge outrageously high fees in some cases. Yes, machines do not make mistakes, the people who use them, make them, and program them do. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

4. Do not speak your mind out loud.
This is for basically the same reasons as for surveys.

5. Do not trust 2nd hand information or rumours at face value.
C’mon I think we’ve all violated this one. Basically, when people don’t know anything about a given person(s), they invent something. That part of our brains that MUST know (curiosity or "unresolvedness") HAS to be filled with something. It could be anything at all, but something. So, we invent, speculate and start rumours be they true or false. Even worse than those who start them, are those who believe them and repeat them without verifying the information to the best of their abilities. The person who started the rumour, may not like the person who is the object of the rumour and is simply trying to influence as many other people as possible to be against that person. Never believe rumours that you can’t verify even if the rumour consists of something another person may have said or done to you. Find out for yourself. The person who informed you of the rumour could have heard it second hand. The person of whom is spoken of in these rumours, usually never finds out about it, because the propagator of the rumour usually asks the recipient of the information, to not tell anyone (especially the supposed source) and the rumour is sometimes untrue or almost true and the effects, are always destructive. They are not even allowed a defence to confirm or deny such sayings. What does this do? People that hear rumours will tend to treat the other person differently and usually with bias when dealing with them. This bias can sometimes be detectable by the person although they have no idea why someone is acting a certain way towards them. Not just that, but the whole thing about 2nd or 3rd or 4th hand information and rumours, just get progressively more distorted as they propagate. Anyone ever hear of the game "telephone"?

6. Do not give out any personal information beyond what is required by law however harmless it may seem.
[Update March 2012: If you don’t know the extents of what is required by law for this or that, is only because you’ve all been ignored by your government. They do not make sure you are informed or understand. Instead of spending money to inform people, we buy jets, make wars and build jails.] Again, surveys come to mind. Notwithstanding, the gathering of personal information, for whatever purpose, is not necessarily innocuous as we like to think. Identity theft and fraud come to mind. In this information age, information is "gold" for those who have it. Each age is named after the "gold" of that age. In this age, data is becoming more and more "persistent". Meaning, it is harder and harder to erase, correct and control. Because of company servers, Internet sites and e-business, your data is almost everywhere whether it be identifiable or aggregate.

Have you ever had to call the same company more than once to correct your information (telephone number, address, etc) when they’ve changed? Why does it not stay changed? Because of server back-ups. Some company’s server goes down (the Hard Drive) and once they fix it, they use old data from previous back-ups to restore the information to the new Hard Drive. Some companies keep back-ups for years and years. This is what I call data persistence. The government is to blame for making flaccid laws concerning privacy. Primarily, by bending to pressure from lobbyists and special interest groups. By default, companies get to retain and share your information with practically every other company unless you write them a letter not to. It should be the other way around. By default, nothing should be shared unless you consent to the sharing. After all, you are doing business with company "A" not company "B". You give your personal information to one company and then they give it (or rather sell it) to all their affiliates, partners and subsidiaries. At the very least, you get flooded with junk mail (both electronic and paper) and get calls from telemarketing firms sometimes two or three times a day. My personal record is 4 and I’m very careful to whom I give my information. As a matter of fact, that’s what prompted me to write this list.

Companies actually pay good money for lists of potential clients. How come we haven’t seen a cent of this money? After all, it’s our information. It’s our personal and private property and we should be the one compensated for its use and that’s if we consent to it. Not the company who sold it to someone else. One can argue charges for theft here. Guess what else, most employers will not even hire you unless you submit a copy of your RCMP file to them. Most people think that since they don’t have a criminal record, the file will be empty. Think again. Every single citizen is on file, record or not. Driver’s licence, drivers record, income taxes, criminal acts committed by you and even against you, credit information, etc. But because we are asked by a potential employer, we just hand it over because we think that it is required by law or something. It is your right to refuse, but if you do, you probably won’t get the job because they know that someone, somewhere, will.

Being denied employment for refusing to remit optional information is illegal because it is a form of discrimination. Furthermore, in the United States, you can’t even get some jobs if you have bad credit. In more cases than not, those who have bad credit are probably the ones who need jobs the most. We have not even scratched the surface of what can be done to you by ill-meaning persons that have access to your personal information. I actually laugh out loud every time I hear some corporation talk about security and protection of your private information. How many cases have been reported (never mind those that aren’t) of huge thefts of banking info, social security info, credit and debit card info. Are we still going to believe this shit? Look, it’s not rocket science. Every single "security" scheme ever devised (encryption, chip cards, bio scanners, alarm systems, etc) or will be devised forever, is inherently insecure. The reason is that someone must invent it; and if someone must invent it, that person (or corporation) knows everything about it; and because at least one person knows other than you, there can be no guarantee of security. If they so wished, they could always defeat or circumvent the system. The only guarantee of security is only when you control the security measure.

[update March 1st 2012: First day back online after a short hiatus. Google has reviewed all of their policies concerning privacy. I read them, and they are none at all. In what concerns data persistence, they outsouce (it seems) to an "organization" (here I say whoa) whose look and feel is not "Googlish" but say that they are a group within Google. You are supposed to see them if you want personal info they collected on you, erased. However, they cannot erase what is on their backups. A company like Google, probably backs up in "real-time", by "mirroring". So, as soon as they collect information on you, it is backed up. Your information is gone from the "machines" facing the internet, but not on the "internal machine" that is on their intranet, "the mirror". You see, Google has discovered a new kind of data mining algorithm that can, by using all the searches made by everyone who searches Google, predict certain events by examining for certain patterns as they start to occur. Trust me on this. I challenge Google to deny this. Hey, I’m right here, it’s not difficult. They are hoping that they can use the entire world as a computer so to speak. Now, I know this sounds strange, but they can get answers to many questions using this algorithm. It is based on the general distribution curve. There are mathematicians out there that will back me up. I’m sure there are others, like me who do not like to be reduced to an equation. I am a scientist first, and believe me, in the wrong hands, this kind of math is very powerful. I will definitely be posting more on this.]

7. Don’t trust politicians.
At least not blindly. I shouldn’t have to explain this one. I always think of elections as choosing the lesser of two evils (even though there are more than 2 political parties). The battles are always between the same two parties, Liberals and Conservatives (or Republicans and Democrats) but in the final analysis, they are both the same. We are only given a "semblance" of a choice. Both are very well aware, that one of the two are always elected and never any of the others. Why should we settle to vote for the lesser of two evils? I choose to vote for no evil. These parties, trace their origins back to the Industrial Revolution in Europe (England, more precisely). They used to be called the "Whigs" and the "Tories", we do not hear the name "Whigs" being used today but the name "Tories" is still used. The Whigs (or Liberals) were composed of the merchant ship owners and proponents of the "laissez-faire" ideology. This is the same as saying, "Let me do what I want", or "Government should stay out of our business (no regulation) and let the market decide what’s best." Ever hear that line? I’m sure you have. Thus, businesses should be permitted to carry out their affairs without being regulated (thus, the word liberal). All the while, the term "market" is referring to you and me. We’re not even people anymore. Another abomination of a word is "human capital". What kind of mind even invents a word like this. Just break the word down, and you can see clearly what it means.

The "Tories" (a.k.a Robber Barons) were composed of rich landowners and royalty (or Blue bloods and thus the color) who believed taxes should be levied on business profits and sent straight into their pockets. Thus, robbers. So one wants a cut of what the other one makes (without earning it) and the other one wants to "rape and pillage" and keep all the "booty". Hey, our own Kevin O’Leary would probably say something like that. No wonder they couldn’t (and can’t) get along. I don’t think that their ideologies have changed much over the years, do you? So much for progress. How many times have they screwed up and screwed us that we know of? Never mind those things that we don’t know about. Yet they are still there. They both lie and make promises that they don’t keep. When that happens, what do we do? We elect the other party; and so it goes, back and forth like a ping-pong match. La-di-da. The worst is that they know it will be one or the other with an occasional "freak of nature", such as the NDP, here and there. Don’t get me wrong, they hold the most hope. Either we don’t learn, have very short memories, don’t care or don’t study any history at all. Furthermore, Canadians are paying way too much taxes. When there are billions of dollars in federal surpluses every year and growing more and more each year (as was the case around the years 1998-2004). This means that they are taking too much from us. That’s what a surplus is. Why don’t they redistribute the surplus back to the people? We’re broke! No. Instead, they will allot the extra money to new, often useless fund-sucking programs and accord subsidies and "aid" to irresponsible and mismanaged companies who will often squander it (it’s not theirs, so why not). All this in the hopes of "balancing the budget", "creating jobs" and "stimulating the economy". The first time I ever heard the word "Stimulus Package", I cracked up. I mean, I said "this has got to be a joke right?...somebody unhook me please". Well, the government is stimulating their packages all right. Hey, why don’t you stimulate my package for a change. Where is all the money going? Take your best guess.

8. Do not trust company executives or management.
Management and workers, a Master-Slave relationship and always has been. "Do what you are ordered without question (and like it)". Lie if we tell you to because we pay your salary and we’ll just as easily put you out in the street if you don’t. Their mentality is psychopathic. Many use Nazi type scare tactics to get you to do something you don’t want to do or refuse to do for moral or ethical reasons. These people got where they are by following orders without question regardless of what their tasks were, and especially how they accomplished them, usually stepping on bodies along the way. They will work all the time (lunch, nights, week-ends) and usually come in early and leave late. Companies call these "qualities", Leadership. I call it slavery of the mind and body. In the past, at least slavery was primarily restricted to the body.

Nowhere does it say that intelligence is required or a pre-requisite for an executive or management job. You just have to "look" like you’re not stupid. Intelligence is an asset and not a requirement. The only requirement consists of a three-letter word, called "Yes". They somewhat resemble politicians except they are far worse. Most are spineless "yes men". They started out like you and me but somewhere along the way, they lost their humanity and became even bigger slaves than you and I. And they don’t even know it! Which I find hilarious! Many companies cut certain benefits to management that employees have. Many companies’ management employees are by requirement, not unionized. The company owns them and they don’t really seem to mind as long as the pay check comes in. Major actions they take, whether it be morally or ethically right or wrong have been dictated to them by their upper management and the actions are taken regardless of their own conscience (if they possess one). They’ve become totally brainwashed into believing the company bullshit or "values" or "culture" as the company likes to call it. Watch out for those bosses who never answer a question or reply to a request via e-mail and instead, come to see you personally. That’s because they are afraid of putting anything in writing as it may come back to haunt them later. CYA right? Also, this way, you have no proof of what was discussed or agreed upon. So if there are any problems (or "challenges" as the buzz word goes) later, you are without recourse because the bosses word is ALWAYS above yours. It becomes very easy for them to abuse their power. My advice is to keep all your e-mails. I won’t give examples, for obvious reasons, you must figure out ways to do this.Yet some of these bosses are the ones who will ask you to send them an e-mail for almost everything thus collecting as much as they can on you. If ever the situation arises where blame can possibly be laid on you instead of them, they will have all the material they need to support their case. Beware also of the methods used for monthly or yearly performance assessments and revisions. This is how they judge whether or not you deserve a salary increase or a promotion or God forbid, a demotion.

If these reviews consist of many sheets with only a short rating scale (say from 1 to 4 and not 1 to 10) and cover extremely ambiguous and general categories, points and topics that really don’t apply to you, then you are screwed unless you can document and demonstrate everything. I guess the simplest way to know if you have one of these kinds of reviews, is if you don’t understand most of the language (and how it applies to what you do) and it takes a lot of reading and time, to fill out. The absolute worst of these types is if they use a short rating scale and use weighted measurements and averages for many of the points, topics and categories, then at the end, take another average over all the scores from the individual sections or categories. Then finally, they use a greatest integer method to determine your final score or rating. Meaning if your final score is 2.9 you only get a 2. Let me say that it is virtually impossible with one of these kinds of reviews to get a raise or a promotion unless the manager really wants to give you one. I will put up a sample of one of these soon so you can recognize one when you see it. If you do, run.

9. Do not let your emotions control you.
This is almost like "Not speaking your mind out loud". Often, we let ourselves be possessed by our emotions. Me included, but the doc says I’m much better now. ;-) I use the word possessed because we can’t control our emotions at times. This is normal and is part of human nature. However, we must use some restraint otherwise we become lawless and can often hurt ourselves or others. Think of emotions as "demons" of a sort, if you can. I think of it more as energy, being a scientist and all. Even if you’re atheist, you still know what a "demon" is. When given free reign, they eventually cause nothing but destruction. Whether the destruction be physical, virtual or mental, it is not healthy to allow them to overwhelm us. It takes a lot of control sometimes. The Primal scream from the movie, "The World According To Garp" is OK, as a stress reliever, but you shouldn’t have to do it everyday. Good movie by the way.

10. Do not give your business to an undeserving company.
When you pay for a product or service, the company should be responsible enough to support what they sell. They should also guarantee that it will perform properly. Read the disclaimers for warranty services, Internet services, software and hardware. Some don’t even guarantee the very product or service they sell will perform as they claim or at all. It’s called "risk minimizing" by lawyers. This is true especially for Internet service and software. When there is a problem with newly purchased goods received in damaged condition, many don’t offer to replace the goods with new ones. Instead they refer you to a 1-800 number for service and repair. Repair? The stuff is brand new for god’s sake! I’m sure that many others have experienced something like this. Brault and Martineau is one such company. Sorry, had to say it. They pissed me off. I have a real horror story in my dealings with them. This is a place that sells appliances, electronics and furniture. If they need to create an entire service department instead of each store handling it's own customers, it’s because they get an awful lot of complaints and returns. I mean, if you need permanent staff...?...then it must be worth paying their salaries every year. And for those salaries to be justified, they need work, right? The other alternative, is to outsource their service desks, real cheap. Take it from me who has many, many years experience in customer service. Stay away from companies like this. Demand that it be as simple as returning it to the store and getting a new one right away.

Ever hear the line "I’ll call you back" from a service department? How many times do they actually do what they say? How many times must you be the one calling back? Why don’t things get done with one call anymore? If you have fallen victim to this kind of service, DON’T do business with them again. No matter how sweet the deal. They must be taught a lesson and nothing teaches a company a lesson better, than not having your money or taking it somewhere else. Believe me, there is no other way. Here is where I usually bend rule #4 and #9. Tell them that their service is the worst you’ve ever seen (or something like that) and that even if you were being dragged kicking and screaming to hell you will never drop another penny there, even in their parking lot, without picking it up (or something like that). And end with the fact that you are going to tell all your friends about the fiasco and put it on your Facebook page. I may even put up a top 10 list of things you can say, if the demand is there. For your next purchase, you may want to check out some other stores or local businesses. You may pay 10% to 20% more elsewhere but get great service. The little guy works harder to earn your business and keep it! Sometimes it’s worth it just for the peace of mind. Business practices is another topic too great for complete discussion here.

11. Do not think you live in a free society or a Democracy.
Yes, that’s correct. A case in point is the "essential services" law many countries have adopted. I’m sorry, but any law that forces someone to do something against their will is not democratic. If you want to stay home and not work, that’s your prerogative. Not just that, but this law also diminishes the power of the people to negotiate better salaries and working conditions. And they’re betting on it. Language laws are also undemocratic. Anti-smoking laws also. Under the premise that second hand smoke causes cancer to non-smokers. Although this may be true indoors, but outdoors? You have more chances of getting cancer from the food you eat, the air you breathe and the toxic chemical products you use in your home and on your body everyday. Cancer rates have even increased since the smoking laws. How’s that for effectiveness. More effective laws would be an Anti-car law and an Anti-industry law. Those would really be effective. How about an Anti-human law? They do kill after all. We also have dog anti-poop laws. I’ve got to admit it’s funny. With all the mass panic over the H1N1 virus, certain parts of the world (so called Democratic countries) have laws that force you to take vaccines. Say what, mutha-?.

What I am trying to say is that governments, municipalities, provinces, states, make money from most of these "useless laws" through fines. They have nothing to do with a genuine care for society. For instance, the fines levied for say, someone caught smoking where they shouldn’t. Does the money go to cancer research for instance? Nope. Here’s a solution off the top of my head. If tabacco companies, want to keep selling more tobacco, they should put the money they use for fighting the anti-tobacco laws, into finding the cure to cancer. After all, they inflicted it on us. Then everyone who wants to smoke can, and since cancer can be cured, second hand smoke is not that big a deal anymore. Also, criminals have more rights than victims. How many times have you made calls or lodged complaints either against an individual or a company, only to be told, "There’s nothing we can do about it". A criminal can sue you if he injures himself while on your property trying to rob you? Seriously?? Jeeezzzz.

Is this justice? Is this democratic?! The government is also testing to see just how much they can take away in terms of our rights and freedoms without us putting up a fight. It starts usually by taking away rights from a minority because the majority won’t complain and usually will agree. Since it doesn’t affect them, why worry about it right? Well, that’s how it starts. Now, we have the Patriot Act which basically guarantees you have no rights at all if only "suspected" of wrong doing. Everybody was good with that cause they aren’t terrorists right? Wrong. Proper interpretation and comprehension of the Patriot Act gives dictatorial powers to the President, and anyone that does anything against the "system", can effectively be labelled a terrorist if they so wished. We know that the degree of separation is 4.3 don’t we? For those who know what I’m talking about, how easy does it get to establish a link between you and a terrorist? Terrorists can be detained, imprisoned and even tortured without trial or sent to other countries to be tortured. The act was not just for terrorists but for anyone challenging the status quo.

How did this happen? Because of violation of rule #1 and #4 mainly. Secondly, rule #7. Thirdly, as a consequence of violating rule #7, rule #5 was violated. Yes, immediately after 9-11 everyone was asked by the media how they felt about having some of their freedoms taken away in order to have guarantees of security. This was a violation of rule #1. And most people said "Yes, of course after all, we have nothing to hide and if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about." Ha Ha, wait and see. This is a violation of rule #4. And because of 9-11 and the story told by the government about it being committed by terrorists was believed (violation of rule #7) even though it was planned and executed by the government as a "false flag" operation. This is no lie. This led us to the violation of rule #4 because all information coming from the media is always at least 2nd hand. It must necessarily be, think about it, (and they also violated rule #7). It doesn’t mean there’s no truth in the media, it is that some in the media have violated rule #8. The world has been decieved by the events and aftermath of 9-11.

So friends, almost every rule in the book has been broken since 9-11. Once again, yet another topic too vast to be completely discussed here.

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