From the MoJo Mailbag

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Pay Now, Pay Later

Do you honestly believe that the people who walk into these stores think that they are getting a good deal? Do you believe that they think they are saving money? Do you think that this, and the thousands of other articles bashing RTO companies, have been missed by the buyers? Do you honestly believe that they’ve never done the math? Do you honestly believe that they’ve never been told that RTO is probably the most expensive way to purchase an item?

These people know exactly what they are doing/paying! I am not speaking in general. My father started a RTO company when I was less than one year old. The company is still in business today, and business is thriving. Why? Because of the impatience of our society. They see “cribs” and think that they deserve the same things. However, since Sears won’t finance them, and they won’t SACRiFICE for a few months and go without, they run down to the local RTO store where they “pay now, pay later”. Do you see RTO employees forcing them through the doors at gunpoint? I certainly don’t. What I’ve seen my entire life, day after day, is the “I work 40 hours a week so I deserve a big screen” mentality.

I want you to know that I do have some sympathy for the people that you describe, as well as the system. I am not an “insider”, and I do feel that there are some faults in the RTO industry. This is the reason that I have chosen not to be a part of that system. I could be running my father’s company, but the main factor in my decision not to is the ethics of the business. However, there’s a simple fix for all those people who feel that they’ve been done wrong. Don’t shop there! Wait a few months, and save your money! You don’t NEED a Television! You don’t have to have a new couch! >/p>

I am 24 years old, and I have NEVER gotten a SINGLE piece of furniture from my father’s store. Not one. My couch was from a friend who got a new one. My bed is half of a bunk-bed set that came from my Grandmothers house. My dresser came from some old neighbors. My washer/dryer came from a friend who was moving and couldn’t take them. I would LOVE to have all new furnishings. However, I am willing to SACRAFICE! The customers of RTO are not. They have to have what they want, when they want.

I certainly do not intend to live my entire life this way. In fact, I probably earn more than 90% of the population, and could go out and furnish my entire home with cash today. However, I choose not to simply because of my willingness to sacrifice my lifestyle now, so that I can reap the benefits later on. The mentality of the RTO customer is the exact opposite of this. They’ve gotta have it now, regardless of the cost, or the effects the payment will have on their finances for the next 18 months.

David Criswell

GigaFight

I am a native resident of the area [TriCities, IL.] mentioned in this article (as well as a “bleedingheart liberal”). … The cities in question are: St.Charles, Geneva and Batavia, IL.

The problem I have is that Mike Simon is misrepresenting the facts of the Comcast fight against the cities offering their own high speed internet access. What isn’t being told is the truth that these cities outsource most of their utilities such as water, sewer, garbage and electric. We are being RIPPED OFF BIG TIME out here!

These cities outsource these utilities and then tack on a service fee to their residents. Our utilities bills are all lumped together as one monthly bill. We are unable to request payment plans or economic solutions, such as flat rate fees from the utilities companies, as residents not in this area are able to do. We pay a PREMIUM for this…LACK OF SERVICE.

We pay extreme late fees if we are even one day late on our utilities bills and if we are late more than twice in a twelve month period we are forced to pay a deposit consisting of 50% of our past year’s accumulated utilities bills! No, we do NOT want our cities to force another utility onto these already enormous bills!

Until we have an acceptable solution, we will fight tooth an nail to stop our cities from ripping us off even further!

Thank you,
Stacey Baker
St. Charles, IL.

“There will not be peace until they withdraw from our land.”

One read of David Enders’ article “There will be no peace …” and I get a clear understanding of why those on the far left have such misguided understandings of the Middle East. Not once in the article is there any mention of the incursions of Hezbollah into Israel which have murdered thousands of Israelis. No mention of the routine firing of Katusha rockets from Southern Lebanon into Israel, which prompted the 1980’s occupation. No mention of the sponsorship of Hezbollah to terrorist organizations which to this day murder innocent Israeli women and children and therefore prompt an Israeli military presence.

The article is clearly biased to explicate the after-effects of the Israeli occupation (and subsequent withdrawal) but give absolutely no context on why the occupation took place, why [an] Israeli military presence is required in Northern Israel. No mention of what the charter of Hezbollah calls for. There is, of course, the usual fodder that American support for Israel is just a Zionist conspiracy, thus fueling the [myth that] “Jews control the government” and therefore the foreign policy agenda.

Here’s hoping those on the left can live up to there values of fairness and clarity by reporting more than pro-Hezbollah propaganda.

Mitchell Price

Medicating Aliah

Rob Waters has made me decide to renew my subscription to Mother Jones even though it won’t expire for a few more months.

His article makes him eligible for some kind of journalistic prize like the FREEDOM Human Rights Leadership Awards in the area of Children’s Rights, truly. What he has uncovered is very much the tip of the iceberg but that is not to take away at all from his excellent and truthful expose.

Kudos,
Caralyn Percy

As a human rights activist who has experienced forced psychiatric drugging, I found it moving to watch a professional journalist at work in the article “Medicating Aliah.” Writer Rob Waters thoroughly exposed how psychiatric drug corporations manipulate screening programs to harvest customers. It is chilling that President Bush calls for screening every American child and adult. We could all be Aliah.

I encourage Mother Jones to go deeper. As Waters showed, one of the main family of psychiatric drugs pushed in these screenings are neuroleptics. Using brain scans, animal studies and autopsies, mainstream medicine now knows that long-term, high-dosage use of neuroleptics can lead to significant changes in the structure of the brain, including shrinkage of the frontal lobes.

Yet no major mental health organization or media outlet is warning patients, family members and the public. In this information vacuum, society is being asked to support policies such as an increased use of involuntary, court-ordered neuroleptics of people living in their own homes. The University of Pennslvania is developing an implantable disk that can time-release neuroleptics for up to a year to increase patient compliance. Neuroleptics are globalizing into developing countries.

Please understand that I and the non-profit advocacy organization I direct, MindFreedom International, are pro-choice. Many of our members choose to take prescribed psychiatric drugs despite the risks. But the corporate medical model has become a kind of chemical crusade that is squeezing out other alternatives. Our prescription is a non-violent revolution that will topple this pharmaceutical fundamentalism.

Sincerely,
David Oaks, Director
MindFreedom International

Climate of Denial

“Climate of Denial” gave me all the validation I’ve been seeking for long-held suspicions that there is a conspiracy of sorts at work in America to undermine the truth about global warming. The article (and all its highly interesting and inflammatory in-lays by McKibben, Gelbspan, et al.) is a succinct “state of the union” summary on America’s “head-in-the-sand” denial of harsh realities, and should be read by all Americans. The “corporatization” and subsequent bastardization of our news media is no secret – it’s nice to see some cold, hard evidence of what anyone with eyes has long suspected. As far as scientists like Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon and “Dr.” Michael Crichton are concerned, they have gone far beyond betraying their committment to the truth and to the greater good. … Thankyou for that much-needed, restorative dose of truth.

P.S. Everyone should also read Lester Brown’s book Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble.

Susan R. Dewar, RN

Everything Bad is Good for You

I do not believe that the television can promote anything but intellectual degradation.

Not even the news or commentary is intellectually stimulating anymore. When is the last time you watched a special program that investigated something of importance with any professional merit?

The only place we can find this sort of thing is Frontline and NOW (formerly NOW with Bill Moyers). Not even Charlie Rose will shut up long enough for me to hear something interesting from his guests.

BOOKTV on CSPAN2 is excellent, but there is too little of it. This service should be expanded and cablecast 24/7, or at least 7 days a week in prime time. Surely there are enough books being published, book events being held, and authors on tour to furnish enough material to fill such a schedule, perhaps 30 hours a week?

And, I have to add, our household uses BOOKTV as a way of finding out about books we might want to buy. We are a reading household, and not a day goes by that I don’t with more people read more. Fiction, nonfiction, prose, poetry, I don’t care.

But get your mind in gear and quit pretending that television will do anything but encourage more television watching.

It is the poison that will kill the West.

Sincerely,
Jon R. Koppenhoefer

We’ll Always Have Paris

This is a great article, Brad, and right on.

I do think, however, you should give some credit to the coalition that I chair [and] that was created to preserve the estate tax, the Americans for a Fair Estate Tax. You are correct that we rely far too much on facts and figures while the repealers rely on moral arguments.

However, our small, underfunded band of groups have stopped permanent repeal. The combination of using a few powerful voices (e.g., Bill Gates,
Sr) and inside maneuvering means we still have an estate tax today. And remember they have spent millions in trying to repeal the tax and we’ve only spent a pittance.

Also, on polling, you can put forward any tax and get majorities to say get rid of it. In our poll, unlike the Luntz poll, we also asked about reforming the tax. And we got a majority that also wants to reform the tax. That poll is already old and done before the massive deficit build-up.

Thanks for doing the piece. It is a powerful summary, which we’ll share with the nonprofit groups in our coalition.

Gary D. Bass
OMB Watch

The Side Effects of Truth

I would like to say to David Graham how brave he is and how thankful the public and government should be for conscientious “whistleblowing” employees. Mr. Graham really considers people’s health more [important] than the FDA does. We have the same crimes going on in Canada and the rest of the world. There are trends in drugs that make you wonder if it’s the most convincing drug company representative whom our doctor saw in his office or at a conference who really influences the doctors. …

Do any of the guilty wonder if their own families and themselves are affected by the same drugs? It’s people who have no morals or conscience, nor guilt about the consequences of their acts or the boss’s on their fellow man. Like robots, the job comes first. The worse part is that lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies, druggists and doctors bug government drug agencies and politicians to promote longer patent rights to prevent generics, look the other way, wait longer for more deaths before going public, makebig bucks from drug companies like the taxes from booze and cigarettes. They continue to let disabling and death causing drugs continue on the market even when the results come in. How many drug companies and insurance companies do you know that have gone bankrupt during recessions and wars? They panic & merge when they lose one million in profits.

Why do people, ignorant or not, go for the homeopathic ways? They also have dangers and are not legislated. Many of the reasons are the same as to why we have both private medical care and public free care. One big solution is to test drugs on sick people who have the disease the drug is meant for; not healthy paid volunteers. The answer is not tests in rabbits’ eyes, and on rats & mice, who get the same drug or food all day and night. The testing is totally foreign to the reality people live. Another solution is to test drugs longer than 5 years or whatever it is and again, on the people affected by the illness.

The predictable result of too many doctors and drug companies promoting the same drugs is abuse of the most popular drugs. It means profits for drug companies, losses for governments who pay prescription drugs to eligible citizens like Canada’s Medicare clients, those on welfare, the elderly, the confused, youth(Paxil & suicide), more illness due to side effects & deaths, so fewer citizens alive and well to pay taxes! Think about it.

Sheila Hucke

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