Monday, November 06, 2006

Who is Valdis Kuwis??

And why does he keep spamming my webrings with irrelevent site submittals?

This is a question that I have been pndering for a couple of months now. Valdis Kuwis is the person that shows up on the domain registry records as the owner of the sites that have been submitted to my webring and the sites being submitted have nothing to do with the theme of the webring. But more basic then that is that I have concluded that Valdis Kuwis is a scammer, in addition to being a spammer. How do I come to this conclusion? Because Valdis Kuwis uses a bogus e-mail address with his submittals. If Valdis Kuwis is running a legitimate business in selling pharmaceutal products online, why the bogus e-mail address? In using the bogus e-mail addresses (yes, he has used multiple bogus e-mail addresses) how is he going to get the webring navigation code that is required to be put on the site that he is submitting? In that the service that the webring is using requires the ring manager to manually approve submissions to be moved into the webring...who does Valdis Kuwis think is going to see his site submittals if they are never moved into the webring community? His submissions only show in the webring queue, which is only viewed by myself. And I immediately delete all of them. Does Valdis Kuwis think that submitting 20-30 spam submissions is going to force me to approve his sites?

In that I cannot communicate with Valdis Kuwis via the e-mail addresses he uses to submit his scam sites to my webring, I tried contacting him via the e-mail address he used when he registered the hundreds of domains he uses to scam people and all I got for my trouble was for Valdis Kuwis to increase the number of spam submission from 7-12 per day to the current level of 20-30 per day, I atempted to contact the businesses he lists on his scam site to ask them if they could contact him and ask him to stop spamming my webring. I have never gotten a response. I guess they don't care that their business is associated with someone who conducts himself in the manner that Valdis Kuwis does. Who are these companies?


Makes one wonder about the legitimacy of those businesses, doesn't it? I did receive positive responses from the different blog and messageboard administrators of the ones that Valdis Kuwis used to enter redirect code so that people, thinking that they are accessing a posted message or blog comment, but instead were being redirected to his scam pages. I don't think I would do business with Valdis Kuwis or any other business that is associated with him.

Finally, put Valdis Kuwis in your favorite search engine and see what you come up with.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Annoyance with eBay

I know.  You’ve heard about the bitches pertaining to eBay.  I have, too.  But I was still doing business on there because it seemed to be other people’s problems, not mine.  Well, today it became my problem.  I use eBay to sell my items.  I use Turbo Lister to upload them.  I also upload them specifically only 1 day a week for 7 days.  I’ve been doing this for a couple of years.  I pay my fees religiously (and sometimes I pay early).  So, today I get home and log onto my e-mail account and find 99 items have been listed under my account that are not mine.  Well, panic sets in because these 99 items translate, with my other items’ insertion fees, into $127!! 


The first thing I do is try to find an e-mail address to report this to eBay.  Have you ever tried to find an actual eBay address to send something to them?  Good luck.  So, I used the links that I could find in the HELP section of eBay to report this error.  After I sent it I did get a reply.  As I read it I got the impression that the response was a canned one.  One that they send out based on the subject field.  I got the response and followed the instructions; I changed my password and I spent the next hour ending the auctions for the items that weren’t mine.  Again, per their instructions.  I didn’t want to have to expose myself to negative feedback because I couldn’t provide the items that were listed under my account.  Now, one of the interesting things about the reply from eBay is that they state that I shouldn’t reply to the e-mail because they won’t receive it.  Then how the hell am I suppose to get this issue resolved?!?!?  I guess it’s not eBay’s problem.  They just want their money.  Anything else is YOUR problem.  Just like the phishing e-mails that seem to be so prolific over the Internet.  I get an average of about 6 per day, which I then forward (with full headers) to  What a total waste of effort that is.  eBay’s answer to people is that the burden is on the user not on eBay.  The user has to do the detective work to determine if the e-mail is legitimate or not.  There are quite a few people out there that are impersonating eBay, yet eBay takes no responsibility to protect themselves??  How can I be sure of this?  Because those phishing e-mails have not lessened, they’ve increased. 


But back to my issue.  I have a response from eBay, a canned response, with instructions on what I should do next.  I follow these instructions, inconvenience myself, and I still don’t have a clear answer as to my eBay fees and when will I be credited.  Below is the response I received from eBay when I reported this issue –


“Thank you for contacting eBay about items being sold on your account that you did not list. As we investigate your report, we ask that you review the information provided in this message to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.


Please attempt to sign in to your eBay account by clicking on the "sign in" button located at the top of the eBay home page. If you are able to sign in to your account, take the steps outlined on the "Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft." To access this page, return to the eBay home page, click the "help" link at the top of the page, and select the following topics when the Help Center window appears:


Safe Trading > If Something Goes Wrong... > Account Theft > Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft


From the "Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft" page, follow the instructions provided to:


1. Change the password on your personal email account.


2. Request a new password for your eBay account.


3. Change the Secret Question and Answer on your eBay account.


4. Verify the contact information on your eBay account and make any necessary changes.


5. Search for and cancel any active bids or listings that may be unauthorized.


These steps will prevent an unauthorized party from accessing your account. After you have secured your account, we will investigate and we will contact you by email as soon as possible, usually within 72 hours.




If you are unable to sign in to your eBay account, please contact us using our Live Help feature. You can contact us through Live Help by accessing the "Securing Your Account and Reporting Account Theft" help page and clicking on the "Live Help" button located at the bottom of the page. After clicking the Live Help button, you will be prompted to enter your name and your eBay User ID. Once you have entered this information, the next available representative will assist you.


In the event that you are unable to locate the Live Help button or you are otherwise unable to contact eBay through Live Help, please note the



- Live Help is only available from If you attempted to access Live Help from one of the international eBay sites, please copy and paste into the address/location window or your web browser and repeat the instructions provided.


- You may need to update your web browser in order to access Live Help.


- Some firewalls will not allow the Live Help program to operate.


If you cannot access Live Help, please await our response by email. As your report is investigated, note that eBay may end listings and restrict access to your account. This will ensure that your account is not tampered with. If we restrict access temporarily, please be patient and await communication from us.


As a part of the investigation, eBay will review any fees charged to your account and credits will be issued, as it is appropriate. Please be aware that billing information, including credit card and bank account numbers, is stored on a secure server and cannot be obtained through access to your eBay account. If you are concerned that this information may have been obtained through other means, refer to the "Protecting Your Identity" page for information on additional steps you can take.

Clicking on the "Help" button located at the top of most eBay pages and selecting the following topics from the Help window can access the "Protecting Your Identity" page:


Safe Trading > If Something Goes Wrong... > Identity Theft  


We appreciate the time you took to write to us. 


*** Please do not respond to this email, as your reply will not be received.


Best regards,


eBay SafeHarbor Team”


The question I have pertaining to crediting my account is….when???  My fees are due in the next couple of days.  Does eBay REALLY think that they can grab the money and then, sometime in the future, give me credit?  I don’t think so.  Although, they do have the power and arrogance to suspend/cancel my account BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T GET THEIR MONEY (which I am NOT going to pay….BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE $127!!).  I am SO sick and tired of all of these institutions and big businesses just helping themselves to my money and then taking their time in returning it when I can show that they were in error.  If any other business is in dire need to being investigated in more detail, it’s eBay.  Why haven’t they been more proactive in protecting THEIR identity?  Why haven’t they instituted safeguards for the users?  Specifically, if I’ve been uploading my items for the last 2 years through a specific ISP, and I just got through uploading the last batch a few days ago, WHY would I upload items from the United Kingdom and in British Sterling???  What did I do, jump on the Concord and fly there?  I guess it may be reasonable with the money I’m making after paying eBay’s fees!  Now, one thing that was brought to my attention was that I received what seemed to be a canned response.  If eBay has a canned response to this issue, does this mean that the problem that they aren’t addressing properly is much more larger then they will admit?  Does this give them the ability to grab actual funds and then give credit against future listings?  What I mean is that they grab $127 in actual funds from me, of which say $80 is due to the false listings.  Now they grab my $127 and decide that I am right (after a few weeks, maybe).  Now they give me credit, not in any actual funds, but against my future listing fees.  My fees average about $20 per upload.  That means that I don’t have to pay any fees for 4 weeks.  Great!!!  But THEY have use of MY MONEY and I don’t for the next 4 weeks.  How’s that for getting an interest free loan?  Imagine doing that for 100 people?  That’s potentially $8000 a pop! 


Now what happens if I decide not to list weekly?  What happens if I decide to list every 2 weeks?  Then they have use of my money for 8 weeks??  Does anyone remember AOL and the scams they pulled before the Attorney Generals from quite a few states got together and investigate their business practices?   Do they need to do the same with eBay?  I don’t know, but I’m willing to contact my State’s Attorney General and let him know.  Maybe there’s a pattern here that I’m not aware of that maybe only that level of authority can investigate.  Maybe eBay’s business practices should be scrutinized in more detail.  If you’ve had any kind of experience with eBay where you feel you haven’t been dealt with fairly, then maybe you should contact YOUR State’s Attorney General’s Office and let them look into it. 


Lastly, one question that you may ask is….did I try to contact anyone directly?  Yes, I used Live Help and just got the runaround.  It was always that I need to get a hold of someone else.  Reminds me of the stories you hear about people calling a company to get an issue resolved and they keep getting passed to someone else.  Well, THAT’S EBAY!


eBay should be required to credit funds as quickly as they grab them and they should return them in the same form that they originally took them, or at least give the user the option of how they are returned.





Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The True Meaning of "Freedom"

By: Daniel Friedman

We stand today in celebration of the 230th year of American Independence.
Jaded by the freedoms our Constitution provides us, we often take our
liberties for granted. Today, too many Americans are ready to throw away the
quilt of American freedom for an imaginary security blanket that is likely
to be as successful as the “Peanuts” character Linus's was. Blinded by
insecurity, America has been led like sheep to the slaughterhouse with
promises of security in exchange for freedom.

It's important to ask ourselves one question this 4th of July, and that is
"What is freedom?" "Freedom" has become commercialized these days; it is
used by almost anyone seeking to rationalize an unjust action, by citing
"freedom" as the force that necessitates it. Actions taken by a private
citizen or an elected official, whether they are immoral or illegal, if they
are taken in the name of freedom, we ought to question their true motives.
The term "Freedom" cannot be thrown around for the benefit of a sound bite,
or a bumper sticker punch line. That demeans the true meaning of the term,
and what we as a nation did to fight for it for 230 years.

True freedom, at its very core, is the essence of who we are as Americans.
It is a defining term, one whose true meaning and limitations should be
debated and decided in the highest Courts; but it is also something that all
Americans should fight and die for. There are those around the world, in
nations far and wide, who are fighting for that very freedom we enjoy today.
Studying their examples should be a task we all take on this 4th of July, so
that we can better understand what true freedom really is.

There was a time, in this very nation, when "Freedom" was spoken in hushed
tones, in awe and with reverence. Those times have passed, and as we have
grown accustomed to the gift of freedom, we do not understand what it means
to not enjoy those same liberties. We see today the desecration of our
freedom in the perpetuation of a war in its name that is fighting for
everything but freedom. We see it in the faces of those in other nations who
smile gleefully while holding a torch to our beloved flag. We see it today
in our own homeland, where untold hundreds track every phone call and e-mail
we make in our homes. The worst way we see it is when our own people are so
eager to give away their freedoms for the promise of a safety that cannot
possibly be achieved by others. In a sense, the greatest threat to freedom,
now and in the future, may be those who live in our own nation. Their
ignorance may be the cause of our own downfall.

This 4th of July, when you are enjoying the day off, barbecuing in your
backyard, and enjoying the food and drinks with family and friends, remember
those who came before us in their fight for true freedom. Remember those who
fight today to be free. And ask yourselves, "What is true freedom to me?"

Saturday, March 18, 2006

US Taking 1 Step Closer to a Totalitarian State?

The following is a copy of a notice that I received this week about the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act. What good does it do to write to ones elected representatives when all you get is a "Thanks you for writing" reply and the following is still allowed to happen.

President Signs PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Bill Lacking Civil Liberties Protections

On March 9, 2006, the day before sixteen provisions of the PATRIOT Act were to expire, President Bush signed a PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill and a group of minor amendments, making most of the Act permanent without the modest but meaningful civil liberties protections that had enjoyed bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

Last summer, the House and Senate passed different bills to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. The Senate version was significantly better for civil liberties than the House version. However, when Congressional negotiators met to iron out their differences, they produced a weak combined bill that failed to contain the reforms in the Senate version.

That House-Senate "conference report" passed in the House but was blocked in the Senate last December when four Republican Senators (John Sununu (NH), Chuck Hagel (NE), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Larry Craig (ID)) joined all but two Democratic Senators in a filibuster.

Last month, under tremendous pressure from the White House, the four Republican Senators agreed to support renewal of the PATRIOT Act with only minor changes to the conference report. Among the provisions in the PATRIOT Act as renewed:

- It still allows the government to obtain business records under Section 215 without showing that the target of the request is connected to terrorism.

- The recipient of a business records order under Section 215 can challenge the order in court and, after a year, can challenge the prohibition (the "gag") against disclosing the order. (Recipients probably already had the right to challenge both without waiting.)

- A judge can overturn the gag order upon finding there is no reason to believe that disclosure of the existence of the underlying records disclosure order may endanger national security or interfere with an investigation or diplomatic relations or endanger the life or physical
safety of any person, but the government's certification that disclosure would endanger national security or interfere with diplomatic relations will be treated as conclusive unless made in bad

- The Attorney General must adopt minimization procedures governing the retention and dissemination of information obtained under Section 215 business records orders, but it does not require minimization procedures for NSLs. It merely requires the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence to submit a report on the feasibility of applying minimization procedures to NSLs after the Inspector General of the Department of Justice conducts a study of how the government uses them.

- It clarifies that libraries are not subject to NSLs except to the extent they provide email access. Libraries are still subject to Section 215 business records orders, but the FBI Director must personally approve applications for disclosure of library records that identify a person.

- The FBI Director's personal approval is also required for disclosure of other records that would identify a person, namely bookstore records, records of firearms sales, and medical, tax and educational records.

- It specifies that notice of "sneak and peek" searches can be delayed for 30 days, a clear expansion of the limits that federal courts had deemed reasonable.

- It eliminates the catch-all provision ("unduly delay a trial") from the list of circumstances under which the government can conduct "sneak and peek" searches, but still allow these searches when notice to the target would "seriously jeopardize" an ongoing investigation.

- Three provisions are subject to a new four-year sunset--Section 215 business records orders, roving wiretaps, and the "lone wolf" provision, which applies the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to non-US citizens who are not connected to foreign powers or terrorist groups.

- It allows roving wiretaps without requiring the government to identify the target of surveillance (the government instead can describe the specific target) and without requiring the government to ascertain that the target is using the equipment or facility before it begins monitoring.

- The government is required to provide after-the-fact notice to the court whenever a roving wiretap is directed at a new facility or place.

- It increases the duration of FISA surveillance orders and FISA pen register and trap and trace orders for non-US persons from 90 days to up to one year.

- It requires disclosure to the government of additional information under FISA pen register and trap and trace orders, including information about anyone communicating with the target of the order.

- It requires additional reporting to Congress on the use of certain PATRIOT Act powers.

The reauthorization also contains additional provisions relating to terrorism, such as an expansion of the offenses that constitute terrorist attacks, criminal penalties for those acts and additional predicates for criminal wiretaps.

Unfortunately, the reauthorization did not address major concerns with the PATRIOT Act, which still authorizes the government to obtain orders for the disclosure of records without showing a connection to a suspected terrorist, to issue National Security Letters without prior judicial approval, and to conduct "sneak and peek" searches of citizens' homes and businesses in
ordinary criminal cases.

USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005

USA PATRIOT Act Amendments Package (S. 2271)

More information on the PATRIOT Act:

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stop the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis.

Yesterday, we launched an unprecedented national campaign with 17 courageous Wal-Mart employees in 14 states calling on Wal-Mart to "Stop the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis."

Their stories are powerful reminders why Wal-Mart needs to change. For example, A.G. White, who works at a Wal-Mart store in Pennsylvania, takes home about $500 every two weeks and has no health benefits through Wal-Mart because it would cost him approximately $200 per pay period, or 40% of his paycheck.

Unfortunately, A.G. is not alone. In fact, based on our new report, we estimate Wal-Mart has over 296,000 employees and dependents on public health care at a cost to taxpayers of $1.37 billion in 2005.

We cannot stay silent while Wal-Mart makes obscene profits at the expense of its employees and American taxpayers. And, while we may not be able to change all of corporate America at once, we do have the power to make corporations put people first, and it starts by making the largest employer in America, Wal-Mart, a responsible corporation.

Here's what you can do:

1) Download flyers you can hand-out to Wal-Mart workers
You can help us recruit Wal-Mart workers to speak out publicly about their conditions. We recognize some of these employees may be scared, but the real stories, told by workers, are incredibly powerful in helping the American people understand why Wal-Mart needs to change. Feel free to email or call Wal-Mart workers you may know with the information on this flyer.

Download the flyer by clicking here:

For examples of Wal-Mart worker stories click here:

2) Sign-up supporters to
The only way to stand up to the abuses of billion dollar corporations is by building a movement of Americans. In 10 short months, we have grown to 183,000 supporters, but there are millions of Americans who want to change Wal-Mart. We need to sign them up to our campaign immediately. As we grow larger, we become an even more powerful force for change.

Send an email asking all of your friends to join by clicking here:

3) Co-sponsor grassroots legislation to Stop the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis
We are actively working to introduce Fair Share for Health Care legislation in all 50 states. Fair Share requires large, profitable companies like Wal-Mart to pay a minimum percentage of health benefits to their workers.

Sign up to be a citizen co-sponsor of Fair Share for Health Care by clicking here:

Please take action today.

What you do matters. You are the only one who has the power to change Wal-Mart, and by joining together we are already forcing a $300 billion dollar corporation to respond. This is only the beginning!

Thank you for all that you do,

Paul Blank

P.S. Click here to see our new television commercial highlighting the
Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis, and please send it to a friend!

Growing opposition to AOL email tax: Keep the momentum up

AOL says it will start charging senders for incoming
mails to AOL users. Read the letter and sign on if you want to save free

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A couple of interesting sites

I'd like to share a couple of interesting web sites with the visitors of The Rant Place.

The first is called Wake Up Wal-Mart. Seems like the arrogance and indifference of Wal-Mart is coming back to bite them. As a former employee (I left because I couldn't afford to work there) I can relate to many of the stories that I read there. The url for this site is and be sure to read the blog at

The other site is called Wal-Mart Watch. The url for this site is and this site has quite a bit of interesting information.

As I stated before, I can relate to the first site because of being a former employee. As one, I especially loved those commercials that showcased a long time employee who became a store manager after years of faithful service and tells us how great it is to work for Wal-Mart and how the potential for promotion cannot be found anywhere else but at Wal-Mart.
Another one, which I haven't seen in quite a while but it still sticks in my mind, where a college graduate (I believe a law graduate) states how the best decision they made was to work at Wal-Mart and how they were promoted within the organization. Well, all I can say to the first person - you must have been the biggest back-stabber, butt-kissing employee in their history.
My tenure at Wal-Mart saw almost all of the good employees leave because of being over-worked, underpaid, and underappreciated. However, I saw the majority of those staying were the incompetents because no one else would want them. Promotions were based on how eager you were to stab your fellow employees in the back and how many management butts you were willing to kiss.

Now for the second person, I can believe your advancement. I can also believe that you didn't have any type of life or responsibility outside of Wal-Mart. Why? Because Wal-Mart wouldn't allow it. I've seen where people who put their personal life and responsibilities ahead of Wal-Mart were pretty much "discarded". Maybe not discarded physically, but if they were looking for advancement it was taken out of their reach.

There is nothing more important to Wal-Mart then their own accumulation of wealth. Period. Their employees personal lives should NOT come into consideration in anyone's perspective , including the employee's. To really understand Wal-Mart's philosophy, just search and read all of the different lawsuits and criminal charges brought against them or their executives. And
check out both sites that I mentioned above and draw your own conclusion.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Scammers still alive and well on the Net

It seems that the Internet scammer is still out there as strong as ever.
I just got a call from the oldest grandson all worried about something that happened on the Net tonight. Well, the first thing I thought of was that he encountered some pedifile or other low-life while on the Net or through e-mail. Lots of things went through my mind. But it was another type mof low-life that preys on the unsuspecting and unsophisticated on the Net. What happened was that my grandson got a portable MP3 player for Christmas and was searching
the Net for MP3 songs that he was interested in. Inevitably he came across a site that promised him over 100 FREE MP3 downloads. Well, that's all a 13 year od needs to see. He went to the site, all excited becuase he was going to be able to get some MP3's for his player.

Not so fast! Not going to be that easy or legitimate. Unfortunatley, with his father at work and his mother trying to deal with the other 3 kids, my grandson was pretty much left to his own devices. When I asked why he didn't wait for his Mom to sit with him, he said that he wanted to get a couple to load on his player and take on the school bus. And that when his Mom finished with his brothers and sister it would be his turn to get ready for bed and his Mom doesn't like to delay his bedtime, especially on a school night. So, there he was looking to get a few MP3's and not have to bother asking his parents for money. So, after we spoke for a few minutes I got the information I needed from him. He accessed that particular site for about a half hour (read on
and you'll see why he was on it for so long) and that he just filled out his own information where requested. His Mom got on the phone and I explained what the concern was. I told her to make sure that they deleted his old e-mail address that they created for him and create a new one. He does have some school friends and others that he exchnages e-mail with. The reason that his parents created an e-mail account on their ISP account was for the purpose that they
can monitor what their children are doing online. But enough of that.

I got the URL that my grandson accessed and I asked him how he knew how long he was on that site. He told me he got on just a little aftger his Mom went to start getting the getting the other kids ready for bed and he got off when the show that was on TV (about a half hour in length) and he was worried that he got tricked on the web site, thinking he may have done wrong. I told him that he dind't do anything wrong because he told someone what happened.
I got on the site myself to check things out (the youngest son, who still lives at home, is our network administrator and has security shells/firewalls on top of other security shells/firewalls. So I wasn't worried too much about picking up any malicious applets or anything) and immediately saw why my grandson got stuck on the site for a half hour. I "allowed" myself to get stuck for only about 10-15 minutes. Once you get on that site, you are presented with a
"special offer" page that you have to complete before you can proceed to the next page. My grandson kept filling out the requested information because he was given the impression that the MP3's were just on the next page. He was presented with messages like "Almost Done!" and "You're almost to the end" type messages just to keep him filling out forms and reviewing offers, that he had ot decide if he wanted or not. In many cases he couldn't go to the next page
UNLESS he answered YES to at least one of the offers. So, he looked them over and if he found one that HE was interested in, he answered YES to it. If there was nothing he was interested in, then he tried to figure out if any of them would be of interest to his parents. Now, where required he did put in his actual birthday, but none had any disclaimer about 13 year olds not being qualified to complete the forms or answer YES to the offers.

So, what's the bottom line? Did my grandson ever get to view the list of MP3's that were being offered? Nope. This site was a scam. How can you tell? Because it adverttised something that they never intended to deliver on. In the time I was on the site, I saw the same offers being presented multiple times. This means that the site's only intention was to keep you "interested" in the offers becaus they mislead you to believe that you will get to what they originally offered. As I navigated the site only one word kept coming to my mind....FRAUD. How about Truth-In-Advertising? Thank Gid I have a friend who works locally for the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). I know I will make a point of giving him all of the information that I have. :-)