Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dear Venezuela

I love you.  Please do not jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.


Venezuela may be on the brink of making what I believe would be a tragic mistake.

Due to many factors including incompetent leadership, the collapse of the price of petroleum, that has been a goal of United States policy, corruption and impunity, Venezuelans have been suffering.

Shortages of basic staple foods,  medicines, medical equipment and necessities like toothpaste have been a problem in recent years and many Venezuelans are quite angry with their President Maduro although they honor the memory of the late leader Hugo Chavez.

May I humbly add my outsider viewpoint ?

The Bolivarian movement and political revolution has been about your country and Latin America asserting an independent role in world affairs. It's been about giving a voice that is heard and not ignored to the poor, the working class, the indigenous and the Afro-descended people. It's been about safe and decent places to live in, ending extreme poverty and illiteracy.

In some of these goals it's made great progress, in others it has not.

There are National Assembly elections coming soon - December 6. If Chavistas abstain, or worse, vote for the opposition, or for an "alternative " like Marea Socialista  they'll be making a big mistake.  The PSUV has made big mistakes but the MUD opposition has no good,  pro working people plans at all. They are hoping for Chavista voters to make some big mistakes in punishing President Maduro and allowing the opposition to take power to completely sell out Venezuela and its people.  Please if you must punish President Maduro and his government you're only going to punish yourself if your decide to deliver this punishment by giving the National Assembly to the opposition.


An old English expression: Don't cut off your nose just to spite your own face.

PS: Marea Socialista probably has valid points about a missing  stolen large amount of money, and they might be right that they were wrongfully expelled from the PSUV.  Helping the opposition take power probably will not help win redress and justice. Its a dangerous game, playing with fire. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Venezuela Solidarity Activists Have (Finally) Taken Note Of The Suffering Of The Venezuelan People
Reality dawns on Venezuela solidarity folks. The Venezuelan people are sick of shortages, the return of hunger,  rampant crime and polyanna bullshit. Is it too late for Venezuela's Socialist Party ( PSUV ) to clean up its act? Is it even capable of doing so?

Here's the rub: When the right defeats the left they often exterminate the left.
Sure, so why not talk would have, could have, should have and maybe ought to?

So wait a minute, he's saying that enormous reponsibilities were given to people who have not the slightest technical training and abilities,  nor revolutionary credentials nor morals? YIKES!
So then, it's not just the Empire and its stateless creole oligarch puppets! ? How was anyone to know!?


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Matthew Daus of the law firm Windels, Marx: Once A Jackball....Oh, and ditto Garth Johnston and John Del Signore at Gothamist

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Garth Johnston, a functional illiterate, writes for The Gothamist.They should be praised for giving such a highly challenged person a chance.

In doing a "once over lightly" on idiot John Del Signore of The Gothamist I came upon this little piece of work done by  Garth "You stupid fuckin' idiot"  Johnston. My comments will follow the article by this ignoramus.:

1,320 Taxi Drivers Caught Overcharging Trips To The Suburbs


Photograph by heath brandon on Flickr
Remember back in 2010 when folks were shocked, shocked, to learn that cabbies were systematically scamming fares heading out to the suburbs by charging them the out-of-city rate (Rate 4) the whole ride? Well, despite new warnings installed in Taxi TV, it seems the practice has not gone away. But at least it has gotten far less prevalent!

Garth, you moron. Look. The "great scandal" of 2010 ended with a fizzle as almost all of the cases wee withdrawn, dismissed or found not substantiated. Matthew Dauss, the Taxi Commissioner at that time soon departed as helmsman of the TLC. In almost every case the "rate 4 button" had been pressed after the ride was over, therefore having none, zero. zilch effect on the fare presented to the passenger. If you recall, the entire mess was generated by one complaint of one passenger. The other "cases" were generated by TLC incompetents under the direction of Dauss, who was branded an idiot in the mass media and who now has two sinecures granted for his loyalty to Giuliani and Bloomberg. See below this item for what the Daily News had to say, you schmuck.

During 2010, 35,558 drivers, 75 percent of the licensed hacks in the city, were found to have clipped at least one passenger . Simply a lie. A recent examination of fares and taxi GPS data found 1,936 overcharges by 1,320 drivers in 2012. Hitting the wrong button at the end of a ride does not constitute an overcharge, it constitutes a simple error, that were it say to be a typing error would be remedied with the backspace and delete functions. And where is the evidence that the driver in question would not have said "Ooops I made a stupid mistake, sir, so knock of half of this fare."  How many actual passenger complaints were involved here? Wouldn't a reporter covering the story want to know??? My guess is we are talking about one or two passenger complaints which when you consider we cabbies carry around 700,000 passengers a day would be cosidered an admirably low error or even overcharge rate in any other retail field. In fact, Garth out of around 270 million taxi rides, an error rate of hmmm let's see now, 270million rides,  1,320 cases of error and peraps possibly overcharges. Can New York City's supermarkets make such a claim for so few questionable ring ups? Still not great, but also a massive improvement. Especially as 1,097 of those drivers overcharged only once—a strong indication those were accidents.
Still, the TLC isn't taking any chances. "We believe that drivers should at this point be well aware of their circumstances and how to operate their equipment," TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg said of the "Rate 4 violations."
According to the TLC, it brought up charges on all of the incidents. More than 30 percent were settled before trial, with the cabbies paying fines. Seven drivers, who overcharged three or more times within three years, had their licenses revoked. All of which is to say if you are going to take a cab into the suburbs (really?) pay attention to what the meter and the alerts on Taxi TV say. Don't overpay! And don't get stabby!
Contact the author of this article or email with further questions, comments or tips.

Hacking the facts: Commish's bogus fare-cheat claim defamed city cabbies

Taxi & Limousine Commission Chairman Matthew Daus leaves office this week the author of what will be an enduring urban legend: that New York taxi drivers stole $8 million from unwitting passengers.
They didn't. Nice work, Mr. Daus.
Daus, whose legacy includes having introduced annoying backseat TV screens and a credit card payment system that costs cabbies money every time it's used, claimed two weeks ago that he had discovered a massive scam: He had caught thousands of yellow cabbies red-handed. More than 35,000 hacks had at least once improperly charged the suburban rate when only the city rate was warranted.
"It's very disturbing," Daus said.
"Some of these people could face serious charges," chimed in Mayor Bloomberg.
How did Daus know? By analyzing the data from GPS devices that the TLC had demanded be installed in every cab. A careful look at the numbers, he said, proved that drivers had wrongly set the sophisticated new meter - another Daus innovation - to the suburban rate.
The notion seemed preposterous to us from the beginning. Sure, some cabbies were prone to cheat - but that many? Couldn't it have been an error? Where was the proof of fraud?
On Monday came a bit of truth from Daus before a City Council hearing: "It may have simply been a mistake by the driver," he conceded, and the number of cheats "is going to be a lot smaller" than the tens of thousands he initially pegged, and sometimes the wrong button was pressed but it didn't increase the fare.
Daus will no doubt make a good living for himself in the private sector, or wherever he lands. But where do the city's hardworking hacks go to get their reputations back?

Read more:

Violations Found in Nearly 60% of Supermarket Inspections

Beware the man with the pricing gun.Daniel Acker/BloombergBeware the man with the pricing gun.
Nearly 60 percent of supermarket inspections in the last year turned up violations of consumer protections, an increase over the year before, even amid a high-profile city crackdown, the Department of Consumer Affairs said.
In response, the department has called for a law that would force stores to pay customers 10 times the amount of any overcharge.
After Consumer Affairs found violations at 52 percent of their inspections over the year ending last August, the city ramped up enforcement, doubling the number of inspections. The results: violations at 59 percent of inspections across the city in the past year, the department’s commissioner, Jonathan B. Mintz, said on Thursday.
Violations, large and small, include failing to place price tags on individual items, not making scales available, inaccurately pricing goods, taxing products that should not be taxed, and improperly scanning items at the register, which could result in overcharging.
About 27 percent of stores inspected were found to be overcharging, officials said.
“I had hoped that our efforts, the strong reaction of the public, the doubling of the number of inspections would make a difference in the investment that the supermarket industry in the city made when it came to making sure that they were doing right by the customers at the checkout counter and complying with the city’s consumer protection laws,” Mr. Mintz said. “Unfortunately, this did not happen.”
Of the five boroughs, Manhattan had the least compliant supermarkets, with nearly 62 percent of inspections uncovering violations, followed by Queens with 61 percent, Brooklyn with 58 percent, Staten Island with 56 percent and the Bronx with 51 percent. The department has posted an online guidefor shoppers.
Under the Grocery Shoppers Have Overcharge Protection (Grocery SHOP) Act proposed by Mr. Mintz, supermarkets would be required to pay 10 times the amount of the overcharge and give the item to the consumer for free. Fines for violations would increase threefold. Currently, the fines for overcharging start at $350.
“For too long, I believe that stores have been enjoying the rewards of these overcharges,” Mr. Mintz said in the release. “I believe that when customers get overcharged, supermarkets should pay for it, not profit from it.”
The measure would have to be adopted by the City Council and signed by the mayor to become law.
Patricia Brodhagen, the vice president for the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, a grocers’ trade group, said that many of the violations cited —  including failing to place labels on items, one of the most common violations — do not affect how consumers are charged. Many supermarkets already give customers their items for free if they are overcharged, she said, making that penalty in the proposed law besides the point.
Ms. Brodhagen added that the Consumer Affairs department did not seem to be concerned with all price discrepancies. “Nobody,” she said, “keeps track of how many undercharges there are.”