AS

The Approval Addiction

A lot of us wish for our talents, our intelligence, or our strengths to be recognised, appreciated, and known by others. But we very soon start to rely on these approvals and try to ‘alter’ our lives to fit in within these expectations. Unfortunately, right from here starts a very vicious cycle.

Ever since I was younger, I had an insane obsession with ‘making sure people knew’ I was this or I was that. My mood, my emotions, and my feelings were a dangerously direct reflection of what others thought of me. It got to the point where I got excessively dependent on ‘approval’. If people praised me, I would feel empowered. If people criticised me, I would feel anxious. And if people insulted me, I would start to look down on myself.

A common example I often look back at are the times wherein I felt the immense pleasure…

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AS

Have Some People Lost Their Minds?

What was Jeffrey Toobin thinking? Was he thinking? What a disappointment. What an idiot.

Samuel Paty, RIP. What was he thinking? Was he thinking? How could he have believed there would be no consequences for showing mocking cartoons of the Prophet when the writers at Charlie Hebdo were killed? I have tried to justify his actions because I have been an educator. I keep coming back to the notion that he should have been more sensitive to the climate, to the context, to his students. Discuss, yes, but showing those cartoons was antagonistic. What pedagogy supports antagonizing students to teach them about free speech?

There is something wrong with human beings. Desperately wrong. We have stopped thinking. We have stopped putting ourselves in the shoes of others. We are insensitive, intolerant, full of hubris. We are thoughtless. We are caustic.

I can’t justify Paty’s beheading. That was wrong. But he should have known the response to his lesson could be extreme. Why did he not see this? Why couldn’t he anticipate the response?

Graduate school taught me about anticipation. You have to think of the questions you might be asked about your area of expertise. You have to anticipate consequences. You have to, else you will be caught unaware and run the risk of looking like an idiot, like Jeffrey Toobin.

What the hell is wrong with some people? Why have we given up thinking, being rational, being sensible?

What is it going to take for us to get back to being thoughtful human beings? What is it going to take to rid us of this awful arrogance? Is this what decline looks like? Mental, moral decline?

What the hell is wrong with us?

AS

NOTES: CLAIMS ADJUSTER POWER, CONSUMER VULNERABILITY

The success or failure of your claim rides on the integrity of your insurance claims adjuster. He has ultimate power over your claim. He can do whatever he likes with your claim, including restricting who can see your claim file and interact with you, the policyholder.

If you live in California and you have filed either a property or auto claim in the last seven (7) years, you should check that your claims are recorded accurately in the databases that retain your claim history as received from your insurance company Claims department. In California, the databases are Verisk A- Plus and Lexis-Nexis. Of the two, Lexis-Nexis seems to carry more weight.

Verisk Consumer Inquiry Center

1000 Bishops Gate Blvd, Ste 300 PO Box 5404 Mt Laurel, NJ 08054-5404 1-800-709-8842

Lexis-Nexis Consumer Center PO Box 105108 Atlanta GA 30348-5108 1-888-497-0011

What you don’t know can hurt you, and the Department of Insurance will not help you. You will be forced to seek legal assistance to get the situation righted should you discover anything wrong. Why the consumer is required to spend money to prove the company “trusted” to insure your home has committed fraud is absurd. The fact that the Department of Insurance will not help consumers makes them appear complicit.

Beware of Safeco/Liberty Mutual Insurance. Those who have suffered losses in the recent fires should be extremely aware of their vulnerable state where insurance companies are concerned.

AS

Do You Smell That?

Beloved,

Is it only me, or does it seem odd that there is no concern whatsoever for the millions of people attempting to survive this pandemic? Millions face eviction, no matter what the Oval Office Occupier writes up in executive orders or manages the CDC to execute. Millions are hungry. Millions are afraid.

Do you feel that no one really cares?

Democrat, Republican. Same. Elites playing with our lives. None seem trustworthy. Their talk is always about money. Fundraising. From where is all this money coming? Where are the funds for needed protective equipment for our first responders? Why are doctors, nurses, auxiliary medical personnel being fired? Why are hospitals closing? Why aren’t the funds being used to support necessary social services instead of propping up dead weight for an election? Millions are in debt. Surely, they didn’t help raise all this money the parties continually wave in our faces as some sort of sign of success.

Did I hear correctly that the Pentagon misused CARES funds that were supposed to support COVID services?

Where is the support for the drylongso? In the grave, I suspect. Why else are there more than 200,000 dead of COVID and related biological assaults?

I didn’t choose Biden to be the Democrat nominee. I definitely can’t support Harris; I remember her record. Biden was chosen for the voters by the DNC, a private company that can do as it chooses. I remember his record, too. He’s been at this political racket for about 50 years. I never understood why Obama chose him as a running mate. Surely, he was aware of his record.

Liberals, neoliberals, conservatives, ultraconservatives. Labels that mask the basic greed and predatory behavior of elites, all playing the same game: gut the working poor, gut the workers, gut those who are not us.

Corruption stinks. Can you smell it, Beloved? Why is there no relief for those most in need? Why is there no national plan to help us survive COVID with as few casualties as possible? It feels like the “leadership” wants to kill as many voters off as possible. Those that can’t be killed off will have their ability to vote suppressed.

Our futures are being destroyed. The futures of our youngest are being destroyed. The futures of the unborn so many are concerned about are being destroyed. The future of our planet is being destroyed. Corruption by elites is destroying everything.

Corruption and greed is on the air. Can you smell it?

Go well, Beloved. Go as well as you can.

AS

What Every Potential Claim Filer Should Know About Safeco Insurance and Protech Construction’s Vince Paglia

Beloved,

I sit here, sweltering in preparation for 3 days of over 100 degree heat, in an unfinished rectangular coffin, built by Vince Paglia, paid for by Kent Stiles of Safeco Insurance. I’m writing this so that if I perish in this heat, someone will know who caused my death.

This nightmare started in 2016, when I filed a legitimate claim on my homeowner insurance. A tree limb fell on my bedroom, cracking it open at the seams. My bedroom was the only room damaged in the incident, that occurred on Earth Day that year.

It took 19 days for Safeco to respond to my claim. I started with adjuster Trevor Haaswyk, who eventually sent an engineer and adjuster to assess the damage. The engineer’s report stated that there was only damage to my bedroom and that my workshop had suffered superficial damage. The damage could be cleared up with $48,000. Two checks were cut for that amount and I thought the matter concluded.

Then, Kent Stiles took over as my adjuster. He sent Vince Paglia and Nicole Mazandarani to my home to discuss repairs with me. Paglia, president of Protech Construction, was misrepresented as a preferred vendor by Mazandarani. She told me that I would receive best quality service, guarantees of the work, and that the work would be supervised every step of the way. She also lied to me and told me that the contractor I was considering was not to be trusted, that I should use Safeco’s Innovation program for best results. Having never filed a claim like this before, I took her at her word given she represented the insurance company to which I paid premiums for 5 years.

Never trust the claims adjuster. Never. What they don’t tell you is claims adjusters and contractors, in California, engage in a confidential relationship that leaves the consumer completely out of the loop if that is what they want to do. They can engage in all sorts of criminal activity and never need to disclose any of what they are doing to the policy holder. While insurance companies, again in California, are required by law to provide the consumer with a complete copy of their claim file, those documents can be falsified and made to totally disappear from the view of anyone other than the adjuster handling the claim.

It took three years of research to discover that Stiles changed the identifying number of my claim file. Claims are recorded in databases that maintain your history for seven years. If you look for insurance, the companies will search your history in the claim files and charge you accordingly should they find negative information. My damage was caused by high winds that caused the tree limb to break and fall on my house. Stiles reported the damage was caused by water. Water damage will get you charged an arm. leg, and ovary for coverage. Additionally, there were three more claims listed in my history when I had only filed the one.

Stiles, Mazandarani, and Paglia are directly responsible for my living in an unfinished, unsafe property. The entire claims department at Safeco are indirectly responsible because they have been covering up the fraud that has been committed. Also responsible is the Department of Insurance agent, John Mort, and the ombudsman, Therese Gallagher, who also covered for Safeco and told me to go find an attorney to try and prove the fraud.

Consumers should not have to rely on agencies that have been corrupted to report corruption to the State’s Attorney General and District Attorney. These entities will shut the consumer down, relying on the Department of Insurance and the Contractors State License Board to report malfeasance. They will not take the consumer’s word for anything.

In this matter, the CSLB has been the only agency to help somewhat. They were able to force Paglia to pay $20,000, but this payment was based on accepting this structure as appropriately built. This box did pass inspection, but I’m only finding out now that Paglia submitted different plans to Los Angeles County Public Works to get permits for a complete rebuild of my home. Paglia’s name is listed as the owner of my property on the demolition receipts, which were falsified as he stated there was a concrete foundation in existence when there was not. He went on vacation in Croatia after filing thses documents because for some strange reason Public Works does not maintain records of rebuilds of residential property. Those documents are discarded after 6 months, but commercial property building information is retained indefinitely. Paglia knew how things worked, but I didn’t.

I was packed out of my house for 18 months when the original contract I signed said I would be out for only 6. Because only the adjuster handling the claim saw any paperwork regarding my claim, it did no good for me to contact the Department of Insurance to initiate a complaint about how the claim was being handled. I had no idea that Stiles was orchestrating the destruction of my home, and submitted his name as the person to contact about the claim. I thought the field adjuster, Mazandarani, was the one doing crooked things. But it was Stiles. He has the power of the purse. He has the power to cut checks, and he cut big ones for himself and Paglia.

My claim went from $48,000 to $430,000. I never saw the checks cut for Paglia until this year. I never signed them. This exhorbitant cost, larger than the terms of my insurance policy, is listed in my claims history. I have attempted to have all the claims removed, but Stiles is in complete control of my file and none of the over 30 people I have spoken to at Safeco have once taken any notice of what I say is happening to me.

I am certain that mine is not the first time this fraud scheme has been run by Stiles or Paglia. There are too many people involved who have stalled and covered for the insurance company. From Public Works to the Department of Insurance to the Contractors State License Board, people are covering for Safeco and Vince Paglia. Liberty Mutual has thrown an awful lot of money around, so much that there is not an attorney in the state who will take my case. Believe me, Beloved, I have been searching for help for the past three years. No one will help the consumer, not even Merlin Law Firm, specialists in this sort of case.

If you have Safeco Insurance, get rid of it before it is too late. Never have any contractor work performed by Protech Construction, owned by Vincent Paglia.

If I perish in the heat, please, make certain to bring this missive to the attention of Governor Newsom, Mr. Lara, the AG, and the DA. I have contacted all of them over the past year and either received no response or was rebuffed.

Peace, Beloved, and may you never suffer at the hands of agencies you are supposed to trust, agencies that are should have a fiduciary responsibility to you.

AS

Too Much

Beloved,

These are awful times. Pandemics of biological, ideological, and political origins. Strange things are happening. I hope some of them will be for the best.

What is wrong with Wisconsin? I used to think of Wisconsin in very positive terms, even thought of moving back there…no more. My memories of my best friend girl, of Willem (who will always be Billy to me), of Larry U and the music, of the pig and dairy farms, of brats roasted in the ground, of theatre class, horseback riding. So many good memories. Wisconsin’s state motto is Forward. Why have they become so backward?

My precious son said to me last night that I should write my memoirs because I have lived an odd life for a Black woman in America. I’ve never been one to talk about myself. No need for a key light. Had enough attention when I was youngster with a hard body that dirty old men lusted after. People often wondered why I wore my hair short and sported oversized clothes. Silly women who wanted me to conform to the look of the day would call me son as if that would make me change the way of looking I chose for my own protection. It isn’t a good feeling to have Sheriffs cruising you as you walk home from elementary school.

My mother was a remarkable woman. Not one of the silly. Working-class, conservative in the way of Protestants, a Texan, a praying warrior. Daughter of an itinerant preacher and a very young mother, she was orphaned and raised with her brother by a maiden aunt who seemed to have had a cruel streak. Nevertheless, she did not let my mom and her brother go to an orphanage. We took care of our own, even if that care was not always the best.

Fortunately, Mom had a fighting spirit. She got out of Texas by dint of hard work. She was educated in the deep South in the 1930s and ’40s. She could read and cipher better than many of today’s so-called graduates. She was educated by Black teachers who cared about her success. They knew the road would be long and hard and they wanted their students prepared as best they could be for the struggle that was and continues to be Black life. Mom passed the love of learning to me. She encouraged my tendency to stick my nose in a book. She taught me how to use my hands to craft things, garden, take care of myself and my surroundings. She taught me to question everything. She raised me to be self-reliant. She did not pass on the abuse from which she suffered and escaped as soon as she could. Always kind and patient, she was the best friend anyone could ask for.

Mom grew up post-Depression. She knew how to save a dollar. She didn’t believe in frivolity, but she knew how to have fun. We would make our fun, dancing, listening to music, cooking, growing collard greens and flowers. Just the two of us. I learned a lot from Mom, but I never learned to like cornbread and buttermilk. That is one of those country meals you ate when there wasn’t much else. It was filling and seemed to have plenty of nutritional value. I much preferred biscuits (homemade) and syrup, you know, sopping!

I learned to live simply from my Mom, so what I’m living in today is disturbing. All this greed and self-centeredness. People who haven’t a clue of who they are because they can’t take the time to look within. Everything is externalized. All this need for representation and validation from sources that could care less about any of us. If I had grown up with these needs, I likely would not have grown up at all. No one represented Black folks except Black folks back in the day. Always separate. We had our own films, our own music, our own everything. We were linked by our exclusion. We were much closer to one another then. We were togehter in the struggle.

We are coming together again, but we are still divided. The class divide is greater. Many of the working-class have no love for the Black elite and the feeling is mutual. No matter my level of education, I have always identified with the working-class, the proles. Sorority sisters irk me. Frat bros are sickening. I digress.

There’s a march on Washington today. The message is vote. The message is make demands. I’m down with all that, but I think much more will be required to make a change in this peculiar time through which we are living.

Peace, Beloved.

AS

Trojan Horses

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke of trojan horses used to smuggle in the status quo. Kamala Harris is the second trojan horse.

More disappointment. More bamboozling. More disrespect.

Where’s the policy? I need no more lofty promises about light and love. I need a revolution.

AS

Disappointment

I no longer trust my government leaders. There is no one looking out for the “little guy” at all. There is no one looking out for this country in a time of pandemic.

Binary relationships are inherently weak because it only takes one to withdraw and cause the edifice to topple. Think conventional marriage and the extremely high divorce rate. Our binary party politics are useless for the little guy. Bunches of rich people are not interested in the issues of the little guy. Their interest is their own pockets which they will continue to line with the blood, bone, and sinew of the working-classes, the little guys.

Our government needs overhaul. Why, in the time of pandemic, are the people being made to suffer? Eviction, hunger, illness, debt, death in a pandemic. Didn’t anybody read The Plague?

Go back to work, in a pandemic. Send your children to school, in a pandemic. Recognize the coercion. Fed unemployment benefits cut off to force people back to work. Small businesses, the backbone of the economy along with our 70% consumer spending rate, are dying, dead, many unlikely to come back.

Freedom and rights are challenged by requirements to wear masks?

Where am I living? THIS is America? What a dump.