Thursday, October 21, 2021

Follow the Truth

 
Right. But, I don't think the "Founder" of the foregoing, Donald Trump, got the Memo.
We learn that we are separate beings in the world, distinct from what is other than ourselves, by coming up against obstacles to the fulfillment of our intentions—that is, by running into opposition to the implementation of our will. When certain aspects of our experience fail to submit to our wishes, when they are on the contrary unyielding and even hostile to our interests, it then becomes clear to us that they are not parts of ourselves. We recognize that they are not under our direct and immediate control; instead, it becomes apparent that they are independent of us. That is the origin of our concept of reality, which is essentially a concept of what limits us, of what we cannot alter or control by the mere movement of our will. 

To the extent that we learn in greater detail how we are limited, and what the limits of our limitation are, we come thereby to delineate our own boundaries and thus to discern our own shape. We learn what we can and cannot do, and the sorts of effort we must make in order to accomplish what is actually possible for us. We learn our powers and our vulnerabilities. This not only provides us with an even more emphatic sense of our separateness. It defines for us the specific sort of being that we are. 

Thus, our recognition and understanding of our own identity arises out of, and depends integrally on, our appreciation of a reality that is definitively independent of ourselves. In other words, it arises out of and depends on our recognition that there are facts and truths over which we cannot hope to exercise direct or immediate control. If there were no such facts or truths, if the world invariably and unresistingly became whatever we might like or wish it to be, we would be unable to distinguish ourselves from what is other than ourselves and we would have no sense of what in particular we ourselves are. It is only through our recognition of a world of stubbornly independent reality, fact, and truth that we come both to recognize ourselves as beings distinct from others and to articulate the specific nature of our own identities. 

How, then, can we fail to take the importance of factuality and of reality seriously? How can we fail to care about truth? 

We cannot.

Frankfurt, Harry G.. On Truth (pp. 98-101). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Yeah.
Consider a Fourth of July orator, who goes on bombastically about “our great and blessed country, whose Founding Fathers under divine guidance created a new beginning for mankind.” This is surely humbug. As Black’s account suggests, the orator is not lying. He would be lying only if it were his intention to bring about in his audience beliefs that he himself regards as false, concerning such matters as whether our country is great, whether it is blessed, whether the Founders had divine guidance, and whether what they did was in fact to create a new beginning for mankind. But the orator does not really care what his audience thinks about the Founding Fathers, or about the role of the deity in our country’s history, or the like. At least, it is not an interest in what anyone thinks about these matters that motivates his speech. 

It is clear that what makes Fourth of July oration humbug is not fundamentally that the speaker regards his statements as false. Rather, just as Black’s account suggests, the orator intends these statements to convey a certain impression of himself. He is not trying to deceive anyone concerning American history. What he cares about is what people think of him. He wants them to think of him as a patriot, as someone who has deep thoughts and feelings about the origins and the mission of our country, who appreciates the importance of religion, who is sensitive to the greatness of our history, whose pride in that history is combined with humility before God, and so on.

Frankfurt, Harry G.. On Bullshit (pp. 16-18). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

 
The jokes just write themselves. Hpw many Scaramuccis will this last?

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Keepin' it classy, as always

 
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
 
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Monday, October 11, 2021

U.S. Presidential Elections and the "Independent State Legislatures Doctrine"

Article II, Section 1
  1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

  2. Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

    The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

  3. The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

  4. No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

  5. In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

  6. The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

  7. Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
____

Subsection/Clause 2 is the focus of the "Independent State Legislatures Doctrine." Sixteen "shall" directives and one (curious) "may." Notably absent is any constitutional language authorizing a state to set (or rescind) an election's procedures post hoc—once an election result is known and Electors' tallies have been submitted to Congress. Are we to believe the Framers intended to provide state legislatures carte blanche? "Original Intent / Textualism" is no help here.
This once-obscure theory — known as the Independent State Legislatures doctrine — had been a stealth effort in right-wing legal circles. But recent election-related litigation in state supreme courts and the federal courts, much of it related to the "Big Lie," has accelerated its prominence and highlighted its dangers. 
Here's what the Independent State Legislature doctrine argues: The U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the sole authority to set all election rules — including the assigning of Electoral College votes — independently, and immune from judicial review. Taken to its natural extreme, it holds that election laws set by state legislatures supersede any rights guaranteed in state constitutions or even initiatives passed by voters. It effectively concludes that there can be no possible checks and balances on state legislatures' authority when it comes to election law.
Yesh, but "immune from judicial review" implies that even SCOTUS has no standing in this regard.** OK: ARTICLE III, Section 2: In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction.
 
The 2020 election is lawfully concluded.  
 

States' legislative authority with respect to future election processes (in advance of them) is a separate issue. With respect to the word "may," you don't get a Mulligan once your state has Certified but you are miffed at the outcome. You Snooze, You Lose.
** The right of citizens "to vote" (exact words) is explicitly set forth in the 14th, 16th 19th, 24th, and 26th Amendments. I'm not buyin' that SCOTUS could not act to strike down any states' legislative enactments that abrogated it. Seriously? Uhhh... ARTICLE III, Section 2, anyone?
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…”
 
"In such Manner" that otherwise comports with the "supreme Law of the Land."
ARTICLE VI:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. 
'eh?
 
NONETHELESS
 
SCOTUS now has a 6-3 "conservative" majority, four of whom—Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Thomas—have already expressed affinity for the "Independent Legislatures" concept. So, we could perhaps see an eventual 5-4 vote in its favor should they opt to take it up. 
 
"The Rule of Five."
 
UPDATE: THE "EASTMAN MEMO"
 
After the November 3rd election, "White House lawyer" John Eastman circulated a 6-pg "confidential memo" (pdf) articulating his proposed process for overturning the apparent Biden win and re-installing Donald Trump for a second term summarily. It begins and ends thus:
PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL
January 6 scenario

Article II, § 1, cl. 2 of the U.S. Constitution assigns to the legislatures of the states the plenary power to determine the manner for choosing presidential electors. Modernly, that is done via statutes that establish the procedures pursuant to which an election must be conducted.

…The fact is that the Constitution assigns this power [to decide a presidential election] to the Vice President as the ultimate arbiter. We should take all of our actions with that in mind. [And, never mind the otherwise “plenary power“ of the states.]

[-snip-]

… I have outlined the likely results of each of the above scenarios, but I should also point out that we are facing a constitutional crisis much bigger than the winner of this particular election. If the illegality and fraud that demonstrably occurred here is allowed to stand—and the Supreme Court has signaled unmistakably that it will not do anything about it—then the sovereign people no longer control the direction of their government, and we will have ceased to be a self-governing people. The stakes could not be higher.
It's worth yet again noting that “illegality and fraud,“ while asserted ad nauseum to have been "demonstrable," were never confirmed, notwithstanding protracted, withering scrutiny—inclusive of more than 60 failed court challenges.
"The Supreme Court has signaled unmistakably that it will not do anything about it." But, but, but... oh, never mind—"ultimate arbiter," anyone? Was not the VP's action "arbitration?" C'mon. Pence was the "ultimate arbiter" until he was not?

 
SUMMARY RECAP
 
 
This is what passes for constitutional analytic sophistication at the Claremont Institute these days.
 
GAME, SET, AND MATCH,
JEREMY B. ROSEN, ESQ (FEDERALIST SOCIETY):
[John Eastman] “prepared a six-page memo for Pence, arguing that Pence had broad powers to stop the Electoral College–vote counting in the Senate. Eastman asserted that the vice president had the authority under the Twelfth Amendment to determine on his own which Electoral College votes were valid and to count only those, thus giving the election to Trump. This theory does not hold up to basic scrutiny. Applying originalism to interpret the Twelfth Amendment, Derek Muller, a professor at the University of Iowa and a prominent conservative election lawyer, explains that the vice president lacks any authority other than to announce the votes that have already been counted by Congress. Indeed, in 2000, Eastman himself argued that Vice President Al Gore did not have power over the counting, because only both houses of Congress possess such authority. If Gore lacked the power to challenge the counting of Electoral College votes he disputed to deprive then-Governor Bush of the presidency, so too did Pence with regard to Trump.”

UPDATE:JOHN EASTMAN HEADS TO THE WAFFLE HOUSE

"John Eastman now rejects ‘coup memo’ he wrote for Trump: ‘Anybody who thinks that that’s a viable strategy is crazy’."

Poignant. Where do they find these people? "Anybody who thinks that's a viable strategy is crazy."

Like, uhhh..., say, these dim bulbs?


I call the Eastman 'coup memo' "accessory to incitement of insurrection."

OCT 13TH ERRATA
 
Nope.
"Why isn't the January 6th Unselect Committee of partisan hacks studying the massive Presidential Election Fraud, which took place on November 3rd and was the reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington to protest on January 6th?" Trump asked, even though his claims of fraud were long ago debunked.

"Look at the numbers now being reported on the fraud, which we now call the 'Really Big Lie.' You cannot study January 6th without studying the reason it happened, November 3rd," Trump argued, attempting to claim that those debunking his lies are the ones actually lying.

"But the Democrats don't want to do that because they know what took place on Election Day in the Swing States, and beyond. If we had an honest media this Election would have been overturned many months ago, but our media is almost as corrupt as our political system!" Trump argued, though even Fox News has accurately reported Trump lost the election.
FOLLOW-UPS
 
 
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Saturday, August 29, 2020

UNFIT

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Psychiatric disease vector


And, apropos...
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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Donald Trump, windbag transcript

Donald Trump, Dec 22nd, 2019, speaking to Turning Point USA.
"We’ll have an economy based on wind.  I never understood wind.  You know, I know windmills very much.  I’ve studied it better than anybody I know.  It’s very expensive.  They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none.  But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes.  Gases are spewing into the atmosphere.  You know we have a world, right?  So the world is tiny compared to the universe.  So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything.  You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air.  Right?  Spewing.  Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air.  It’s our air, their air, everything — right?
So they make these things and then they put them up.  And if you own a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50 percent of the price.  They’re noisy.  They kill the birds.  You want to see a bird graveyard?  You just go.  Take a look.  A bird graveyard.  Go under a windmill someday.  You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life.  (Laughter.)
You know, in California, they were killing the bald eagle.  If you shoot a bald eagle, they want to put you in jail for 10 years.  A windmill will kill many bald eagles.  It’s true.
And you know what?  After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off.  That’s true, by the way.  This is — they make you turn it off after you — and yet, if you killed one they put you in jail.  That’s okay.  But why is it okay for these windmills to destroy the bird population?  And that’s what they’re doing.
I’ll tell you another thing about windmills.  And I’m not — look, I like all forms of energy.  And I think (inaudible) — really, they’re okay in industrial areas.  Like you have an industrial plant, you put up a windmill — you know, et cetera, et cetera.
I’ve seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields — most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up.  And sometimes they’re made by different companies.  You know, I’m like a perfectionist; I really built good stuff.  And so you’ll see like a few windmills made by one company: General Electric.  And then you’ll see a few made by Siemens, and you’ll see a few made by some other guy that doesn’t have 10 cents, so it looks like a — so you see all these windows, they’re all different shades of color.  They’re like sort of white, but one is like an orange-white.  (Laughter.)  It’s my favorite color: orange.  (Applause.)
No, but — and you see these magnificent fields, and they’re owned — and you know what they don’t tell you about windmills?  After 10 years, they look like hell.  You know, they start to get tired, old.  You got to replace them.  A lot of times, people don’t replace them.  They need massive subsidy from the government in order to make it.  It’s really a terrible thing.
And what they want to do is they want to get rid of all petroleum product.  That means you basically won’t have any factories in the United States.
So tell me though, how are you going to win Texas when you say, “We’re going to get rid of all petroleum,” right?"  (Applause)...


Uhhh... You do know that wind energy is actually solar energy?

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Dr. Fiona Hill, Patriot

@BobbyGvegas

Opening Statement of Dr. Fiona Hill
to the House of Representatives Permanent

Select Committee on Intelligence
November 21, 2019

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

We can't say we weren't warned

When a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents . . . is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”
      — Alexander Hamilton, 1792

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Cleanup on Aisle 45

"Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more. He was a pair of ragged orange claws upon the ocean floor, forever scuttling, pinching, reaching for more, a carrion crab, a lobster and a boiling lobster pot in one, a termite, a tyrant over his own little empires. He got a boost at the beginning from the wealth handed him and then moved among grifters and mobsters who cut him slack as long as he was useful, or maybe there’s slack in arenas where people live by personal loyalty until they betray, and not by rules, and certainly not by the law or the book. So for seven decades, he fed his appetites and exercised his license to lie, cheat, steal, and stiff working people of their wages, made messes, left them behind, grabbed more baubles, and left them in ruin.

He was supposed to be a great maker of things, but he was mostly a breaker. He acquired buildings and women and enterprises and treated them all alike, promoting and deserting them, running into bankruptcies and divorces, treading on lawsuits the way a lumberjack of old walked across the logs floating on their way to the mill, but as long as he moved in his underworld of dealmakers the rules were wobbly and the enforcement was wobblier and he could stay afloat. But his appetite was endless, and he wanted more, and he gambled to become the most powerful man in the world, and won, careless of what he wished for…

The man in the white house sits, naked and obscene, a pustule of ego, in the harsh light, a man whose grasp exceeded his understanding, because his understanding was dulled by indulgence. He must know somewhere below the surface he skates on that he has destroyed his image, and like Dorian Gray before him, will be devoured by his own corrosion in due time too. One way or another this will kill him, though he may drag down millions with him. One way or another, he knows he has stepped off a cliff, pronounced himself king of the air, and is in freefall. Another dungheap awaits his landing; the dung is all his; when he plunges into it he will be, at last, a self-made man."
Rebecca Solnit. 

Read all of it. She wrote it more than two years ago, and in August 2019 it rings painfully more on point than ever.
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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Quadrant IV: Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism

From Peter Frase's thoughtful book Four Futures.

Hierarchy and Scarcity: Exterminism
[I]f we do not arrive [at a post-capitalist society] as equals, and environmental limits continue to press against us, we come to the fourth and most disturbing of our possible futures. In a way, it resembles the communism that we began with—but it is a communism for the few.
A paradoxical truth about that global elite we have learned to call the “one percent” is that, while they are defined by their control of a huge swathe of the world’s monetary wealth, they are at the same time the fragment of humanity whose daily lives are least dominated by money. As Charles Stross has written, the very richest inhabit an existence in which most worldly goods are, in effect, free. That is, their wealth is so great relative to the cost of food, housing, travel, and other amenities that they rarely have to consider the cost of anything. Whatever they want, they can have.

Which is to say that for the very rich, the world is already something like the communism described earlier. The difference, of course, is that their post-scarcity condition is made possible not just by machines but by the labor of the global working class. But an optimistic view of future developments—the future I have described as communism—is that we will eventually come to a state in which we are all, in some sense, the one percent. As William Gibson famously remarked, “the future is already here; it’s just unevenly distributed.”

But what if resources and energy are simply too scarce to allow everyone to enjoy the material standard of living of today’s rich? What if we arrive in a future that no longer requires the mass proletariat’s labor in production, but is unable to provide everyone with an arbitrarily high standard of consumption? If we arrive in that world as an egalitarian society, then the answer is the socialist regime of shared conservation described in the previous section. But if, instead, we remain a society polarized between a privileged elite and a downtrodden mass, then the most plausible trajectory leads to something much darker; I will call it by the term that E. P. Thompson used to describe a different dystopia, during the peak of the cold war: exterminism.

The great danger posed by the automation of production, in the context of a world of hierarchy and scarce resources, is that it makes the great mass of people superfluous from the standpoint of the ruling elite. This is in contrast to capitalism, where the antagonism between capital and labor was characterized by both a clash of interests and a relationship of mutual dependence: the workers depend on capitalists as long as they don’t control the means of production themselves, while the capitalists need workers to run their factories and shops. It is as the lyrics of “Solidarity Forever” had it: “They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn/But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.” With the rise of the robots, the second line ceases to hold.

The existence of an impoverished, economically superfluous rabble poses a great danger to the ruling class, which will naturally fear imminent expropriation; confronted with this threat, several courses of action present themselves. The masses can be bought off with some degree of redistribution of resources, as the rich share out their wealth in the form of social welfare programs, at least if resource constraints aren’t too binding. But in addition to potentially reintroducing scarcity into the lives of the rich, this solution is liable to lead to an ever-rising tide of demands on the part of the masses, thus raising the specter of expropriation once again. This is essentially what happened at the high tide of the welfare state, when bosses began to fear that both profits and control over the workplace were slipping out of their hands.

If buying off the angry mob isn’t a sustainable strategy, another option is simply to run away and hide from them. This is the trajectory of what the sociologist Bryan Turner calls “enclave society”, an order in which “governments and other agencies seek to regulate spaces and, where necessary, to immobilize flows of people, goods and services” by means of “enclosure, bureaucratic barriers, legal exclusions and registrations.” Gated communities, private islands, ghettos, prisons, terrorism paranoia, biological quarantines; together, these amount to an inverted global gulag, where the rich live in tiny islands of wealth strewn around an ocean of misery. In Tropic of Chaos, Christian Parenti makes the case that we are already constructing this new order, as climate change brings about what he calls the “catastrophic convergence” of ecological disruption, economic inequality, and state failure. The legacy of colonialism and neoliberalism is that the rich countries, along with the elites of the poorer ones, have facilitated a disintegration into anarchic violence, as various tribal and political factions fight over the diminishing bounty of damaged ecosystems. Faced with this bleak reality, many of the rich—which, in global terms, includes many workers in the rich countries as well—have resigned themselves to barricading themselves into their fortresses, to be protected by unmanned drones and private military contractors. Guard labor, which we encountered in the rentist society, reappears in an even more malevolent form, as a lucky few are employed as enforcers and protectors for the rich.

But this too, is an unstable equilibrium, for the same basic reason that buying off the masses is. So long as the immiserated hordes exist, there is the danger that it may one day become impossible to hold them at bay. Once mass labor has been rendered superfluous, a final solution lurks: the genocidal war of the rich against the poor. Many have called the recent Justin Timberlake vehicle, In Time, a Marxist film, but it is more precisely a parable of the road to exterminism. In the movie, a tiny ruling class literally lives forever in their gated enclaves due to genetic technology, while everyone else is programmed to die at 25 unless they can beg, borrow or steal more time. The only thing saving the workers is that the rich still have some need for their labor; when that need expires, so presumably will the working class itself.

Hence exterminism, as a description of this type of society. Such a genocidal telos may seem like an outlandish, comic book villain level of barbarism; perhaps it is unreasonable to think that a world scarred by the holocausts of the twentieth century could again sink to such depravity. Then again, the United States is already a country where a serious candidate for the Presidency revels in executing the innocent, while the sitting Commander in Chief casually orders the assassination of American citizens without even the pretense of due process, to widespread liberal applause.
___

Original essay, upon which the subsequent book is based, freely available at Jacobin. Highly recommended.
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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Republican Former Prosecutors on Donald Trump and Obstruction of Justice


NOTE: You have to click "watch this video on YouTube" to view it. Begs the question of why they included the iFrame "share" embed code. Whatever. Worth your time to click through.
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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Consumer alert and warning: American Movers and Storage


We've just completed our move from the Bay Area to Baltimore. I will recount ASAP in dispositive detail our sorry, maddening particulars regarding American Movers and Storage. Stay tuned.

Avoid this company.

From their website:
WHY CHOOSE US?
  • Perfect timing
. Our efficient team guarantees efficacy every step of the way, making sure your move is completed in a timely manner.
  • Satisfaction guaranteed. 
We will surpass your expectations in both quality of service and productivity. Our teams are trained to excel in all aspects of the relocation task.
  • Always extra careful. 
Our clients enjoy our team’s dedication to perfection. We treat your items like they were our own and give it the utmost attention to safeguard the quality of your inventory.
 Our experience with these people has been zero for three on those counts. The marketing platitudes don't even come close to the reality we got.

My 1-star Yelp review:
This review rating should start with a decimal point.

"We're a family-owned business with our own fleet of trucks and drivers." - Our AMS "Senior Moving Coordinator" contact (salesman) Maybe that's even technically true, but it's FAR from the entire story. Their truck showed up two days late for pickup in California, severely complicating our departure. It was an Enterprise 26' rental. The driver and his associate were subcontractors from Las Vegas. One reason they were late was that CHP had sequestered their truck overnight near Bakersfield for logbook violations.

We were quoted a "7-14 day" delivery window to our new home in Baltimore. "AMS" finally arrived after 20 days, and the driver, (another contractor, who spoke broken Russian accent English), refused to enter our neighborhood, citing "commercial vehicle size/weight restrictions," which my new neighbors all scoffed at ("moving vans come in and out of here all the time"). I myself had seen an Atlas Van Lines semi down the street on the day we closed on the house on March 29th.

Mr. "Senior Moving Coordinator" had stopped responding to my phone calls and emails midway through the episode.

They held us up for a last-minute Sunday night additional $1,900 "shuttle service fee" in order to relinquish our belongings. We had no choice, as the driver threatened "I'm leaving Maryland tomorrow."

As we unpack, the inventory of broken and otherwise damaged items grows depressingly. The fact that this seems to be an industry-wide failing in no way excuses AMS.

There's LOTS more. I will be documenting ALL of this in litigation-worthy detail here ASAP:

bgladd.blogspot.com/2019…

AVOID THIS COMPANY.
Up next, their many websites and email addresses that don't work. One domain name goes to a GoDaddy.com "parked URL" page -- "do you want to buy this domain?"

UPDATE

There were accruing yellow flags. I missed them until it was too late. Juggling too many logistical balls in the air.

First oddity. Their "Social Media" links did not work.


Clicking any of them just throws you back to the top of the page. You won't find them by direct searching anyway.

My contact was one Daniel Snyder, "Senior Moving Coordinator." His email footer:
Daniel Snyder
4782197606
Senior moving coordinator
American Movers and Storage
(877) 635-5059  Ext. 1022
daniel@movingservicegroup.com
https://americanmovers.co
"movingservicegroup.com?" That domain doesn't actively exist, it's a GoDaddy.com parked URL.


Ugh. Of course, again, I didn't start drilling down until problems started to ensue, and by then it was too late.

The truck--a 26' Enterprise rental--showed up for pickup two days late, with a driver and laborer that were obvious itinerant subs. The manifest paperwork masthead comprised another yellow flag.


"executivemovingandstorage.com?" Search for them.


Shit.

The email contact page icon for AMS?


It also goes off into the bit bucket, via a different email address ("info@eastcoastvanline.com") than the one visible on the web page.

"eastcoastvanline.com" apparently doesn't exist at all.


Soon after the truck departed Antioch, Daniel Snyder stopped responding to my phone calls and emails. The increasingly petulant "customer service" reps answering the phone refused to put me through to his voicemail.
"Your call is being recorded for quality assurance purposes."
Right. How much you wanna bet those have been deleted had they even been captured?


To be clear: my own due diligence was woefully inadequate. I fell for some slick salesmanship amid a relentless cacophony of contending offers that seemed way dubious by comparison.

We probably have no recourse (though I will seek out legal counsel), except to persistently warn others.

SUNDAY MAY 5TH UPDATE

As I posted to Facebook:
Well, another day, another ugly American Movers and Storage surprise. Matt and Eileen came over yesterday afternoon and moved two of our three 7 ft office library heavy wood bookcases upstairs into the spare bedroom office for us. When I cut the black plastic shrink wrapping off it just now, this is what I found. They literally destroyed the back panel of this one. I was expecting to put in shelves and unbox books this morning, but no.


WHY CHOOSE US?
  • Perfect timing
. Our efficient team guarantees efficacy every step of the way, making sure your move is completed in a timely manner.
  • Satisfaction guaranteed. 
We will surpass your expectations in both quality of service and productivity. Our teams are trained to excel in all aspects of the relocation task.
  • Always extra careful. 
Our clients enjoy our team’s dedication to perfection. We treat your items like they were our own and give it the utmost attention to safeguard the quality of your inventory.
MAY 8TH UPDATE

It has been 10 days since the egregiously late (and last-minute "$1,900 shuttle fee" extortionate) delivery of our belongings. Not one peep of follow-up inquiry from AMS. Imagine my surprise.

The mounting damage toll continues to accrue. Probably at least $500 of loss thus far. It's random, too. Some fragile items survived without a scratch. But many properly packed boxes were obviously subjected to recklessly indifferent, repeatedly rough handling.

We had a foyer 15" x 46" metal table with a beveled glass top. The carefully wrapped top is nowhere to be found. We have to assume they broke and discarded it. (We were given no breakage report.)
We expected to have inevitable, unavoidable breakage and damage. This is well beyond the pale, however. RECKLESS INDIFFERENCE. If this recounting deprives AMS of at least one future victim customer, it will have been worth my time. Beyond that, I'm dubious regarding getting any legal redress, given the mountain of ostructive fine print to which I had to assent in writing. Not that I won't look into it once time permits.
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DEC 14TH 2019: BOGUS "SHUTTLE FEE" UPDATE

I now have a new neighbor moving in next door at 320 Paddington. View from my front porch this morning.


Yeah, that looks like a "less than 3/4 ton truck." While not a semi, it's a 26 ft box truck. Gross weight, empty, ~13,000 lbs. Max gross weight, loaded, 26,000 lbs (13 tons).
We've seen multiple moving van semis on our Homeland District residential streets since we got here in April.
AMS plainly extorted us. And I'm sure they give a [bleep].
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Friday, March 22, 2019

Trump's own Best Words update

From CNN:
"It's always interesting to me because a deputy, that [sic] didn't get any votes, appoints a man that [sic] didn't get any votes, he's going to write a report on me. I had one of the greatest election victories in history. Would you say that's true? They came from the valleys, they came from the rivers, they came from the cities, they came from all over, they voted in one of the greatest elections in the history of our country, and now I have a man, because we have an attorney general who -- nobody can even believe he didn't tell me, but he recused himself -- so I have a man who is a deputy who I don't know, who I didn't know at all, and he appoints a man who had just left my office, I didn't give him the job at the FBI, Comey's his best friend, but listen, you know it better than anybody, you've been very fair in this, but listen, I have a deputy, appoints a man to write a report on me, to make a determination on my presidency? People will not stand for it."

Wednesday before leaving the White House for a speech in Ohio: "It's interesting that a man gets appointed by a deputy; he writes a report. You know -- never figured that one out, I had the greatest electoral victory -- one of them -- in the history of our country. Tremendous success. Tens of millions of voters. And now somebody is going to write a report who never got a vote." 
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