Sunday, May 31, 2015

Possible great news in the battle to tame Uber
Uber drivers are a cult.

Last Thursday New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission held a hearing to take up proposed rule changes that would greatly reduce the public safety threat posed by distracted driving caused by driver apps.
For one thing drivers would be permitted to have only one of the apps, not the current state of affairs allowing them multiple apps. Other improvements would include mandating the app be affixed to the car and very importantly the app would be programmed to be inoperable if the car is in motion except that the driver could tap once to accept a job, or the app could allow the driver to accept the job via voice command.
If the rules stand they could seriously crimp Uber's business model. Uber recruited most of its professional drivers in New York City by sharing the allegiance of  livery drivers who are already affiliated with a base and by drawing them further in with thousand dollars bonuses for dropping their original affiliation. Some livery based have their own apps and we're vulnerable to poaching by Uber.
Uber's app would no longer give their drivers turn by turn navigation. Most Uber drivers, who work part time don't live in the city. They'll be pressed to learn their way around.
The tech industry is not pleased and will be lobbying hard, mobilizing both the usual approaches and also the populist approaches of mobilizing both drivers and libertarian ideologues and other narcissistic personality disorder stricken Uber fans.
It will be up to our pliable mayor deBlasio to hold firm.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

From what I gather UberX is no longer an option for earning a living.

Uber does count on mathematical illiteracy fostered by our wonderful system of education. Once a driver wakes up and smells the coffee he/she will probably want out. A problem arises for the ones who are trapped in a sub prime 22% interest sub prime auto loan.

While I am not a lawyer or a financial advisor, I want you Uber drivers who feel like your backs are against the wall all to know that your credit score is already shot to shit so there might not be much of a downside in either just walking away from the car, and/or filing bankruptcy. It's hard to face the realization, it's a bitter pill to swallow, but your alternative may be a physical and mental collapse. You just cannot keep going out there banging your head against a freaking wall.

Tell the judge that you went broke giving bottled water to cheapskate millionaires. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Brian Cole, poster boy for Worldwide anti-Uber Day ? (July 1, 2015).

In a way I feel sorry for Brian Cole. Had he been born a few decades earlier he'd probably had worked in heavy industry, in a union job, making decent money. But since the Reagan Revolution, our country is "post industrial," post union and post decent education. So a poor guy like Brian has to work 90 hours a week without frills like disability insurance, let alone paid vacation and a medical plan for what is probably a sub minimum wage income, while facing all the risks of being a semi illicit operator in a notoriously dangerous occupation- taxi driving. I suppose he deserves some credit for striving to earn money by other means, even by gathering commissions for enticing others into the same trap.

So he's got a YouTube channel and hypes Uber as a way to earn a living. But he's got a problem - Foot-in-mouth disease. Here, early into his shpeil he admits that for many of those ninety or so hours he's driving around without the proper insurance and that if he knocks down a pedestrian he's up the proverbial creek without a paddle. A true cultist, he regards people who take exception to that criminal state of affairs as haters.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hugo Chavez' Dream

June 11, 2007 -
"Whoever has a fridge they do not need, put it out in the village square. Whoever has a truck, a fan, or a cooler they do not need, give something away. Let's not be selfish. I demand you do it...

Millions signed up for membership in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

Chavez said: "If I were to end up with only five people out of those five million, I'd be happier...

"I only want to be accompanied by true socialists."

He did say these things (the sequence might be off.) Hugo Chavez dreamt of a country and a world without poverty, racism and oppression. In 1989 he was a Lieutenant Colonel and paratrooper in the Venezuelan army. Of humble background Chavez, at the age of 17 had  entered Venezuela's military academy. Soon be found himself assigned to fight Castro backed guerrillas. As I understand it he came to sympathize with them under the influence of his brother Adan.

On February 27, 1989 a rebellion of the poor broke out over IMF sponsored "reforms" that included increasing the cost of gasoline and transit fares.

The President, Carlos Andres Perez, also known as CAP, had been elected as democratic socialist successor to Jaime Luschinsky. CAP.had run for President on an anti IMF platform. Like today the country was in crisis precipitated by a decline in petroleum prices. Like so-called socialists in our time, CAP ditched his campaign persona, became "responsible" and initiated austerity measures that especially hurt the poor.

The poor rose up in protest especially in and around Caracas. A massacre ensued. It's disputed how many people were killed by the police and military but it is probably to be reckoned in the thousands.

Chavez and fellow soldiers like Diosdado Cabello plotted to overthrow the government which had done this and was hated by the poor and mainly  non - white majority.

On February 4, 1992 the soldiers made their move with some civilian allies.

Five groups moved towards their assigned objectives. Chavez's group had the most important task - to capture CAP. They were foiled and taken prisoners. Chavez was allowed to go on television to urge the others to surrender.  This television appearance made a hero of the brown skinned soldier with the voice of a man of the people.

Eventually the government felt compelled to release Chavez.

In 1998 the two main parties, Democratic Action roughly analogous to the US Democrats and the Christian Democrats, the approximate analogue to the Republicans were discredited and out of steam. Chavez was elected carrying 17 of 26 States, with 56% of the vote. Turnout had been 63%. If Hugo Chavez is remembered for one thing it might be his tendency to say exactly what he was thinking. No one who saw his first appearance at the United Nations will forget him complaining about the odor  of sulfur left behind by US president George Bush.
I'm blogging about this stuff because I feel a connection to Venezuela. My wife is from there and I recently spent three months in Venezuela, for a lot of that time in a rancho that was under construction by a relative. People who follow world events know that Venezuela is going through hard times. In fact Venezuela's going through tribulations similar to the events that led to the Caracazo uprising and massacre. down, corruption is rampant, and the two main parties, one the Socialists founded by Chavez and the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable are seemingly estranged from the people and largely discredited.
I often say that foreigners should keep their noses out of the business of Venezuelans yet I care so deeply it's hard for me to follow my own rule. Venezuela's I guess I will just say that I believe that there is a road ahead, that the country and people have great resources so I will refrain from saying exactly what I am thinking.

Uber, playing with fire pushing usurious sub prime car loans to entrap drivers

The ongoing  Uber Ponzi scheme racket is going to explode in the near future as Uber driver paupers, saddled with 23% interest automobile loans ultimately walk away from or get forcibly repossessed of  cars they can't afford to maintain . We're in a honeymoon phase with Uber right now - relatively new drivers and relatively new cars, bought as Uber taxis by people who can only make the payments as long as Uber deducts the money from the drivers pay checks. According to the Internal Revenue Service cars depreciate (deteriorate) at the rate of 57.5¢ per mile.  Sooner or later transmissions, brakes, fuel pumps and radiators get replaced,. Drivers who can't afford and are too overwhelmed by driving to do normal maintenance of their cars face breakdowns and accident risks. The loans are for five year periods. A pauper driver who does an average of 900 miles per week needs to budget $517 for maintenance, repairs and eventual replacement of the car. Typically a cash strapped driver won't do this, which won't show up as a problem (with luck) on a new car. As the car ages the issue forces itself onto the agenda. Meanwhile these junk loans  that are arranged with GM and Santander Bank. Both of these entities are under Justice Department investigation for selling junk level loans as investment grade to pension funds and insurance companies. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Uber uses their leverage with these predatory lenders to pressure the drivers to work more hours and not to use other apps.

The blog that could take down Uber as we know it.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It looks like Uber has created an opportunity for taxi drivers in New York City.

When I left NYC in November for three months the fleet I drive for had so many drivers a driver could come to shape up and wait two hours only to be told that there was no car for him and to come back tomorrow.

In order to avoid that unpleasantness I opted for another - a commitment to work six nights a week, which allowed me to come to the garage at five p.m. knowing that I will work regardless of how many other drivers had been there since three. At my age this was becoming quite trying.

When I returned to my garage in February the situation had turned because several of the drivers took a payoff from Uber and left. Now I work a more humane pace, as I.had planned to do, only expecting to be sent home one or two nights a week. Well, that's not the case now. My garage has a good location, otherwise I'd switch. Hmmm maybe I will switch to get those bonuses then come "home"....

If I could freeze frame the Uber situation I'd benefit. I'd have to adopt the attitude of our elected officials and stop worrying about a few pedestrians getting killed by app distracted Uber drivers who are exempt from State and TLC safety standards....

Why I say that the United States is a narco state (States?)

How Uber drivers Jack up their fares and it doesn't matter to me.

Many Uber drivers are clever, and in it for the money. In New York City, where Uber X drivers are licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission as livery drivers, surge prices are important to the professional Uber X drivers and these higher prices are important to driver income in many other cities. Uber uses an algorithm that determines the balance between passengers and vehicles on an ongoing basis and when the cars are in greater demand than they are available the fare goes up. Some Uber drivers are taking the situation in hand and trying their hand as surge rain makers. One Los Angeles Uber driver posted a "how to" video that didn't stay online for long. On the forum Uber drivers discuss how to make a surge happen. Their methods include cancellation while en route to a pickup and manipulation of the rider app, which many travel with.

I'm a yellow taxi driver in NYC who so far continues to benefit from Uber drivers activity. I drive for a fleet and all of the fleets are experiencing driver shortages during most shifts. Many taxi drivers went to Uber. At the same time business for the individual yellow taxi drivers still driving yellow doesn't seem to have been negatively impacted, not yet. In other words the decline in yellow taxi customers (which I think is being exaggerated) is matched by a decline in the number of yellow cabs on the streets. The danger lies ahead if Uber makes another leap and taxi owners who can't cover their shifts are driven out of business. Right now Citibank is trying to repossess 90 medallions currently held by Evgeny Friedman, the taxi mogul everyone loves to hate. Friedman hopes to be awarded "too big to fail" status. He controls 800 medallions. It's possible that if these medallions are put on auction by Citibank 14 billion dollars of value could evaporate in New York City and a domino effect may then hit other cities. I'm not a medallion owner.

Attention Uber NYC drivers who feel like they've had enough abuse from Uber.

You probably can escape the fate of an Ubered driver  and become a taxi driving business man or woman. I'm not going to tell you that driving yellow in New York City is the perfect life, but it probably beats driving UberX by far and if you want it driving yellow taxi now opens a door to really having your own small business.

This is a real print out of a real yellow taxi driver's income for a long, hard, rewarding day of work. I figured that this driver made over $240 clear after lease, fees, and customary tipping back.. I estimated his expenses on the high side.

If you own your Uber car you can probably convert it to a yellow taxi. You also would have the option of having one or two drivers working under you and earning money for you while you rest or enjoy a day off.

Yellow taxis will soon have e hail apps installed. I oppose the apps on safety grounds and there are court cases now ongoing that might result in the apps being banned or changed. Yellow taxi drivers and owners feel pressured to use e hail apps. The driver apps will not use smart phones but will be installed in already existing equipment that is used for communication purposes.

If you want to know more about switching from Uber to Yellow you can contact Queens Medallion Leasing at 21-03 44th Avenue Long Island City right next to the upper roadway exit on 21st Street during normal business hours or other taxi management company.

#Uber terms and conditions leave customers really screwed if something happens to you

Keep the following in mind: Uber account passwords are for sale on the internet at a buck a pop. Uber takes no responsibility. If your driver doesn't have proper insurance and he gets you hurt or killed Uber will deny all responsibility and fight you or your survivors in court. Their business plan revolves around being a cultish fad and constantly going to Wall Street for fresh injections of cash. As a privately held company their finances are not subject to outside audit. Ride at your own risk, invest knowing it's a murky Ponzi Scheme.(edit 05/11/2015)

Venezuela defense chief: We fired at cocaine plane and notified Colombia.

According to Venezuelan Defence Minister Padrino Lopez  the cocaine. laden small atircraft that crashed into Colombian waters on a trajectory from Venezuela had been fired upon and hit by a Venezuelan defense forces plane last Wednesday.

Venezuelan authorities notified Colombia that the plane was headed to Colombian airspace. The plane had originated in Central America, and had been loaded up with the cocaine at a remote makeshift airstrip inside Venezuela. Venezuela has a lengthy border with Colombia characterized as remote, of mountainous terrain with heavy forest cover. Colombia, is a US aligned country and is where 300 tons of cocaine were harvested last year. Venezuela has no commercial scale cocaine farming but is used as a transit point by Colombian drug gangs. Millions of Colombians live in Venezuela.

The United States, whose Drug Enforcement Administration agents were recently said by the US Justice Department to have been provided with prostitutes paid for by Colombian drug gangs, is now "investigating" several leaders of Venezuela's government for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Clearly the cocaine at question originated in Colombia, where corrupt US DEA agents have been supervising "anti drug" activities while enjoying the company of prostitutes paid for by Colombian drug gangs over the past few years.
You can't make this stuff up.

The end of Uber and Lyft as we know them? Crusading attorney puts "sharing economy" on trial.!/article/1741937072

Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan is based in Boston but she's lately been in a couple of Federal Courtrooms in San Francisco opening up a potential can of worms (or possibly whup ass) for the Silicon Valley high tech bullshit rappers who run Uber, Lyft and other so called "sharing economy" exploitation rackets. It's really pretty simple. Uber, Lyft and companies that provide services like house cleaning, claim not to be employers and that their workers aren't employees but are independent contractors, not even contracted with the companies that cut their paychecks, set their prices, assign them jobs, rate their performance and can suspend or even fire them.
Uber and Lyft claim that their critics are Luddites who are trying to halt the tide of technology. As one of those critics I disagree. I am fighting super exploitation of the drivers and reckless abandon concerning the dangers of distracted driving caused by driver apps.
Uber drivers strike in Florida, say they don't make enough money to maintain a car.

If Uber and Lyft's "secret sauce" is technology and not reckless exploitation they should be able to pay their drivers minimum wage, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, workers compensation, and expenses like the 57.5 cents per mile it costs to run a car. My guess is that they can't - though they are multi billion dollar corporations. If the price is too steep, as they claim, and as I suspect, they're free to go back to the drawing board. Juries will soon be hearing the cases, and other law firms are showing interest in these types of cases which will proliferate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#Ubered Grand theft #Uber. How Travis Kalanick and friends ripped off the intellectual property of the true pioneer of e hail apps.And why I can't shed a tear.

Kevin Halpern has a case against Travis Kalanick, it seems Travis and friends ripped off his ideas. Why do I not give a tinkers damn?
Apparently Halpern pioneered the e hail app, then confided in Kalanick and friends, who proceeded to rip off Halpern's intellectual property. Sounds like he should sue the S.O.B.'s, and so he is.
Supposedly the app has introduced a cheap, new and better way for people to get around, and incidentally for people to make themselves some money by driving, while they "disrupt" the livelihoods of other people. Halpern says that he invented the thing and has been cheated. What he's been cheated out of is an opportunity to super exploit financially desperate unsophisticated people while putting public safety at risk.
Uber drivers often don't take in enough money to properly maintain their own cars. Operating an automobile as a business requires you to take in 57.5 cents per mile on the road. Not per mile with customers, this is the cost of driving from a drop - off to an area where the next fare can be found.

For many Uber X drivers the fixed costs are higher than the government declared 57.5 cents per mile because the driver is paying off a car loan, arranged by Uber with a usurious interest rate of 22%! The driver must make his payment or have the car repossessed and credit further destroyed. What happens is the UberX driver becomes an indentured slave. This is at the heart of the "innovative and disruptive" New Big Thing. Not only taxi drivers are targets of the "innovative solutions" (deception and servitude) . Public transportation is in the bullseye too. Recently Uber have rides from.the clubs and fancy restaurants of New York's meatpacking district to the mostly white and well off hipster enclaves of Brooklyn, where Black and Hispanic people of modest means once predominated, at the price of a bus or subway ride. There's no such offer in the low-rent Bronx. Public Transportation advocates and unions need to start paying attention to the threat.

Due to rampant insurance fraud coupled with casual police investigation practices the true numbers of people
 and property damage and death caused by distracted Uber drivers can't be known, but many Uber drivers themselves will admit that they must be app distracted drivers in order to be Uber drivers.
#Ubered #Ubered #Ubered
"Over my time driving for Uber, I find looking at my phone while I'm actually driving - something I almost never do - to be an essential part of success,...
Emily Guendelsberger, senior staff writer at Philadelphia City Paper and undercover Uber driver.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Have You Been #Ubered ?

It hasn't made the mainstream media in our country, except for one article in Fortune Magazine but Uber accounts are for sale on the internet. This means that maybe your Uber password is being bought right now in Moscow or Los Angeles for a dollar. Uber rejects all responsibility to customers in its terms of service. If you have an Uber account you agreed to their terms of service. This could  be why so many "hacked" Uber customers are not having an easy time speaking with a human being at an Uber office. Uber doesn't much do human being speaking, as it says it's a tech company that is not responsible for anything that might happen to a customer. See #Ubered on Twitter to see some of the thousands of complaints about being charged for rides in places the complainant wasn't at. People who use the same password for Uber as for other accounts face nightmarish run arounds from Uber and the regulators they've "cultivated."

If I had an Uber account I'd close it. Deleting the app does not get you into the clear. I repeat: Someone is selling Uber account passwords on the internet, Uber denies responsibility and the media ignore it.

Personally, if you are an Uber user I don't care about  you any more than you care about me as a taxi driver but I want to warn you, not for your sake so much as to help stop this giant criminal enterprise from expanding, and who knows? Maybe putting them out of business.

Uber takes advantage of mentally and emotionally challenged, economically desperate people who they (and you) exploit as drivers. I hope that you'll understand this once you've read the remarks of a Uber driver who goes by the handle of Lagmonkey as he 
 tries to convince himself that he makes all of $15.51 an hour, when he actually makes far less, possibly nothing at all, depending on the wear and tear on his car. The deluded and exploited young man thinks he is rolling in dough because he's handled six hundred dollars last week, most or possibly all dollars not destined to be really his earnings at all. The United States Internal Revenue Service says that his net week's income of around four hundred dollars isn't enough to  cover the true cost of running his car the nearly one thousand miles he logged.His business plan revolves around  not maintaining the car he drives for Uber

  1. Articles pointing to the public safety threat posed by distracted driving caused by driver apps have appeared in Forbes, The Guardian, and Streets Blog NYC which asked Ydanis Rodriguez, head of New York City Council's Transportation Committee if Wesley Mensing is the first pedestrian killed by app distracted Uber driving in New York City. I asked if he had studied the apps prior to approving them to have a go on our streets. No answers have been received by this blog.(You can ask too! Twitter @Ydanis .)
The Ultimate #Ubered experience was suffered by six years old Sofia Liu .

How much do (stupid) Ubered drivers make? And yellow taxi drivers?

Sorry I come across as harsh on Uber drivers but Damn! They can be so stupid (or irresponsible.)
Here's an Uber driver who goes by the handle of Lagmonkey crowing about his "earnings" $595 in "less than 38 hours" okay, let's do the math:
$595.16/37.58 = $15.83 per hour. Not too bad for a low skill job, one might think. Except for the fact that Lagmonkey hasn't factored in the costs of Uber's takeout of $162.56 okay Lagmonkey is left with $432.60, or $11.51 an hour. But wait. Lagmonkey is a businessman. He owns, maintains and insures a commercial vehicle, right? Yes, out of his earnings of $432 per week. An Uber driver who goes by the handle "Jizzwagon" (you can't make this stuff up) tries to reason with Lagmonkey to no avail. Lagmonkey is crowing about an email he got from Uber.
"Uber sent me an email saying I was a top Partner
#MiniVanGetstheBitchesExcited " You can't make this stuff up!

Uber has not yet disrupted yellow taxi driver daily earnings. On the same website non Uber drivers are able to participate in threads. An obviously seasoned yellow taxi driver uploaded his earnings report for the day. He grossed $180 in cash fares from 15 trips. (Cash tips are not displayed.) That's an average of $12 per cash ride. Cash tips tend to be lower than credit card tips. I'll estimate an average of 12%. He grossed $202 in cash. He grossed $230.86 credit card receipts from 11 trips, two of them to JFK airport. He left Kennedy empty both times. His credit card tips averaged at 18.7%. Every credit card passenger but one tipped something, a four dollar ride. He grossed  $431.00. His lease would  be approximately $118.00. Gas, $20, MTA tax $11.00, Accessibility fee $6.60  tolls $10.66, Sales tax $4.77. Likely he tips the garage DISPATCHER $5.00. He tips the gas pump operator $1.00. He tipped thegarage cashier $2.00 and he paid the hotel doormen $20 (ten each) for the two Kennedy fares. He is left with $248.00, a lucky and skilled driver, for 12 hours from the time he was given the key to the taxi until he turned it in.

FYI I don't match this guy. I am older, my reflexes are slower and I take a nap around 1:00 in the morning till 1:45 am.

I think it's clear that Uber passengers and Uber share in shameless exploitation of mentally and emotionally challenged individuals.

I've been known to make mistakes...

When I realized that Shannon Roy is not the author of an account of experiences as a Uber driver, but Emily Guendelsberger is I was embarrassed, and wondered how I made the mistake and what to do about it. I did mention Ms. Guendelsberger's work and quoted her as well in a recent article. There are several people named Shannon Roy who subscribe to Google plus. One of these people posted the article on Google plus, and in a state of confusion I credited Roy with the article. My bad.

Monday, May 18, 2015

WSJ: US officials eye Venezuela as "narco state." Pot Kettle Black.

US troops in Afghanistan guarding opium fields.
Yesterday outlaw publisher Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal reported that law enforcement officials in Miami and New York are investigating leaders of the Venezuelan government for alleged involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering. Various media have been nailing the label of "narco state" on Venezuela for years.
Venezuela is a relatively small and poor country whose military is nowhere near a match for the United States military. Hence Venezuela fits the profile of a country that the United States might very well attack with force of arms, like Panama, which had borne the label " narco state" before the United States military invaded it, killed an unknown number of Panamanians and then captured and brought the small  country's leader, Manuel Noriega, to a United States court room, over  alleged actions said to have transpired in Panama. 

The irony of the United States, which is the world's largest consumer of mind altering drugs, both licit and illicit , judging drug lords and narco States stands out strongly enough. Poorer and weaker countries in the vicinity of the USA such as Venezuela naturally are pulled towards the U.S. drug market by economic gravity. One of Hugo Chavez' "unforgettable sins" in the eyes of the world's number one drug purchasing power was his expulsion of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration from Venezuela. Actually Venezuela's law enforcement agencies began to uncover interdict and seize a greater tonnage of illicit drugs than they did under the tutelage of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Possibly President Chavez couldn't reconcile enrollment of Venezuela's police and military into the United States' odd "War on Drugs" wherein Latin American soldiers, police officers, judges, prosecutors, journalists and ordinary citizens are to die by the score and by the thousands on their own turf in the name of a United States Drug war in which United States military, police, judges, prosecutors, journalists and ordinary citizens are not expected to lose their lives. Perhaps on the other hand he took drug eradication more seriously than the United States do. Not only do Americans not perish in this war  of choice, but at present the US is in the process of legalizing marijuana and seizing the opportunity to dominate the world market by legalizing marijuana cultivation both by private companies licensed by the separate States and by those States directly. How many Mexicans, Colombians Guatemalans and other Latin American citizens have died trying to eradicate this cash crop under DEA supervision from their own lands? Certainly many more sacrificed their lives  to keep the cash crop from reaching its biggest potential markets:  the streets and school yards of California and Colorado and all of the United States .

I recently spent three months in Venezuela, where I can't say I once encountered mind altering drugs other than coffee and beer. Of course it's not unlikely that illicit drugs are transportated through Venezuela and of course where you find loose money you will find government officials, just as it is in the United States.
President Obama should be thankful that President Maduro and Assembly President Diosdado Cabello never asked me for advice, as I would propose they go all out to make dollars by providing whatever we American people are willing to buy.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why I'm supporting Bernie Sanders for President.

Sanders led the boycott of this disgrace.
I don't see the world the same way  Bernie Sanders does. I'm going to support him on this blog anyhow. Bernie was saying that he wants to restore faith in the system.

I blogged about the possible Sanders run for President over a year ago. I said that while Sanders is trying to restore faith in the system I have none. I don't think the real problems facing the world can be solved by sticking with the system. I will promote Sanders's run for President over all the others that are running, and to help him demonstrate that the system is all played out.
He's made a good proposal so far, a bill to make all public colleges and universities tuition free. I await his proposal for solving the trillion dollars student debt crisis. I happen to believe that people younger than me make up an entity that is too big to fail. These debts are an unconscionable burden on millions of young people.

Regarding foreign policy I want to praise Sanders for being the first US Senator to announce his boycott of Israel's strongman Benyamin Netanyahu's speech that put AIPAC's trained  donkeys and elephants through a new low in circus animal degradation.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My heart is breaking for Venezuela

If you read my posts both here and in my retired blog Please don't vomit in the taxi you know that I am connected to Venezuela, where there are kids who call me "abuello" (Grampa) and where my wife is from. I spent the months of November, December and January there and I love the place.

Venezuela has a government that describes itself as socialist. I call it populist/nationalist. Most of Venezuela's income comes from petroleum and while it may have the world's largest known reserves, its petroleum is mainly of a sort that is most challenging to extract and refine into useful products. Nevertheless it was doing quite well as the price of petroleum was high. It didn't seem to matter that the nationalized oil company was not competently managed. Anti Chavez staffers had shut down the company in an attempt to overthrow the government and they were fired en masse. That left the company with a lot of staffers who wear red shirts and know the right slogans. What they're not too good at is getting the gooey mess up out of the ground and making it into stuff you can sell. So production never recovered and foreign companies are taking defacto control. . There was enough though to virtually give shiploads away to Cuba and other countries for almost nothing, which endeared the government to some people all over the world, but in Venezuela, maybe not so much.

Gas is almost free in Venezuela, and while the government has been shouting about charging for it, they haven't yet got the nerve to try doing it. Now, in the U.S., biggest gas consuming nation on earth, we've been fracking our little brains out mainly as an economic warfare policy targetting Russia. Venezuela has taken a beating from the United States campaign against petroleum imports. In spite of much rhetoric Venezuela didn't prepare for this predictable turn of events. Now the fan blades are spinning and putting a nasty mess all over the walls.

Inflation is out of hand. The government is raising the minimum wage but that's not good enough for most Venezuelans. Food inflation is off the charts, the government has not been publishing figures.

Pretty bad, but it gets worse.  The government has been practically giving dollars away to entities that supposedly use the dollars to import food and items like razor blades, medicine, condoms, sanitary napkins to get sold cheap in government stores. Well, it seems to make more sense to sell the subsidized dollars on that black market and sell what little that gets imported at black market prices or smuggle it out, maybe on the same ships used to smuggle out gasoline.

So, as of now the government still condones the arbitrage of Venezuela's currency sold to apparently insider so called importers who turn over the dollars that cost them 6.3 bolivares for today's black market rate of three hundred bolivares!

Sure, the United States government has taken steps to hurt Venezuela (and Russia). What a competent government would do is prepare for this predictable turn of events.

The Venezuelan movement Marrea Socialista will be fielding candidates in the Assembly elections at the end of the year. Many Venezuelans are planning to punish the so called Socialist Party by holding their noses and voting for the opposition. I hope Marrea Socialista is able to make themselves heard and ally with honest patriots who can be found in the Socialist Party, its allied parties and the legitimate patriotic opposition to lead the way out of today's mess.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Reporter Shannon Roy found out that she had to be a distracted driver in order to be a Uber driver.

Reporter Shannon Roy drove for Uber and found out that she had to be a distracted driver in order to be a Uber driver. Updated 5/19/15: Shannon Roy posted an article about driving for Uber by Emily Guendelsberger. My bad.

I'd bet you a dollar Josh Mohrer has the answer to Streets Blog's question.

I've been shouting about this for years. I begged that a real journalist check out the driver apps. Unfortunately what should be considered her important finding is being ignored.

That's criminal!
Streets blog New York asked City Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez if Wesley Mensing was the first New York City pedestrian to be killed by an app distracted Uber driver. We all know that injury and death caused by motorists are not often truly investigated by NYPD. It is a legitimate question: How many people have been hit by distracted Uber drivers in New York City?How many were killed? Most likely Uber New York manager Josh Mohrer has the data.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sheldon Adelson and I regret the same thing for different reasons.

Sheldon Adelson faces new scrutiny as documents challenge his testimony

Sheldon Adelson. I confess I love to hate the guy. Alleged money launderer, Triad gangster confederate, prostitution hotelier, sugar daddy to right wing politicians in both Israel and the United States. Here he regrets service in the United States military, sorry he wasn't wearing an Israeli uniform. I wore the United States Army uniform too and I regret it too. I wore the uniform of a country that murdered millions in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia while I was serving. Anyhow, Sheldon Adelson is in trouble in a courtroom in Nevada. I hope the SOB gets nailed.

Friday, May 8, 2015

#Ubered Fish gotta swim , birds gotta fly.

Uber drivers are scabs.

I've been reading that over in Europe masked men have attacked Uber drivers with brass knuckles and hammers. It's suspected that the attackers are taxi drivers.

I'd ask the Uber drivers: Aren't you really being violent when you unlawfully steal the livelihoods of other people, who are lawfully earning their bread and supporting their loved ones?

Is it reasonable for you to believe that you can do that without any consequences?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jafe Paulino #Kidinacandystore

Jafe Paulino just got out of my taxi around one in the morning. He was on the phone with his best friend in the world talking about being #thenextbigthing or maybe the next next big thing. He grew up in a musical family. He's got a very close bond with both the friend he was talking with and with his father too. Jafe Paulino is in the video on this page. He's about to go on a world tour with "just (his) guitar on his back." He's about twenty years old and on the edge of having his wishes come true. Hence my hash tag for him. I wish him all the best but to be careful as it's a nasty world and, after all, he's very talented and accomplished, but in my 69 year old eyes he's still a b kid.

#worldtour #bicoastal