Friday, November 13, 2020

Don't Dump Those Fares Or Else! & Uber And Lyft Across the American Landscape & Why All Varieties Of Authoritarianism Is A Bad Idea

 New Puget Sound Dispatch Edict: Don't roll those meters!

The latest PSD newsletter firmly came down upon all those drivers dumping fares they don't like, telling them the MTI system allows them "to be watched," so you better watch out, you better not cry because PSD Big Brother, Big Sister has come to town.  And I endorse this approach, the past few months having encountered too many abandoned passengers waiting out in the cold and rain.  PSD essentially said that if you won't do the job properly, you will be disinvited from PSD/Seattle Yellow Cab.  I can't argue with that.  Customers call cabs for one solitary reason: because they need to get somewhere regardless of the distance, any consideration whether it pleases the cabbie not part of the discussion.  My suggestion then, minus all qualifications, is answer the call, take them to the requested destination, and proceed on.  What other option is there?  Get out of the business, thank you every much.  

Uber & Lyft are assholes, and those backing Uber & Lyft financially are also assholes. What else are they?

After the California voters gave Uber and Lyft their Proposition 22 victory, their stocks collectively gained 20 billion dollars, investors liking that ride-share companies can continue exploiting their "independent operators." All anyone truly cares about is money and how much I can stuff into my pockets provided by the sweat and blood of others toiling beneath the California sun and elsewhere.  Many states are now talking about what to do, now that Uber is offering a "watered down" collective bargaining to begin discussions whether the operators deserve the minimal of benefits.  Many are howling in response, saying the drivers are employees and nothing else. 

As the stock goes up, the wages go down, and the only ones laughing all the way to the bank are the corporate clowns.

And the ones crying, we know who they are, spending all day driving in circles in their Uber cars! 

I know it seems odd that I am siding with the Uber and Lyft drivers but it isn't nice the way they are treated, not at all.  

Flush All Authoritarian Behavior Down the Cultural Toilets

I personally have witnessed authoritarianism in many countries through the years, my first experience being Hungary and Budapest, 1984.  That was muted in comparison to the machine gun brandishing government thugs in Morocco in 1991 or the "they are everywhere" police presence in the People's Republic of China in 1995. But just not there, noting police and governmental abuse in Spain 1982, Turkey 1999, Yugoslavia 1991, Poland 2015, Vietnam 1995, Ecuador 2002, and Russia 2015.  There is nothing fun about others controlling your life, your behavior, what you can do or not.  

Of course authoritarian behavior isn't isolated to countries and regions outside our borders.  In 1972, when dealing with the United States Selective Service System, they informed me that someone other than myself owned my body, and that they could make me do anything they wanted me to do.  Shoot people with guns.  Drop bombs on their heads.  Gas them in their homes.  Shell their towns and villages.  If the US government wanted me to kill and destroy, that's what I was supposed to do.  If that isn't authoritarianism, I don't know the definition of the term.

And this kind of despotic behavior isn't confined to the federal government.  Any local government can decide that when building a road, if your house is in the way, through the purview of "eminent domain," they will be taking your house after paying you something, market value hopefully but regardless, you will be kicked out and your house knocked down.  

During these past four years of the Trump Administration, we (meaning my fellow Americans, those paying attention) have observed a systematic dismantling of democratic protections---agency Inspector Generals given the boot, entire governmental departments intentionally understaffed, and in cooperation with a GOP-controlled US Senate, witnessing the filling of over 200 Federal judgeships with appointees well-known to side with Federal control of the American citizenry, limiting what you can do with your body and who you can do it with.  

And in an extreme post 2020 election acceleration, Trump denies he has lost both the popular and electoral college vote, making all kinds of erroneous claims while, at least initially, the GOP leadership stays quiet, seeking to appease the current GOP base of voters.  Even the Secretary Of State makes a statement saying there would be a smooth transition, a smooth transition to a second Trump term! though Biden has clearly won 290 electoral votes and counting.  

Yes, authoritarianism in all its shapes and forms, guises and colors should never be embraced by anyone, let alone by my fellow Americans.  In 2015 I visited 3 of the Nazi-run death camps dating from WWII, those sites the direct result of citizens accepting and embracing authoritarianism.  Currently in western China there are at least 280 concentration "reeducation" camps holding over one million detainees. This is what happens when you accept authoritarian rule.  People are arrested.  People are tortured.  People are killed.

My advice then is to recognize autocratic rule and reject it.  If someone is telling you to hate one group or another, reject it.  Make every attempt instead to understand what is being told to you and why.  What is the motive?  What is the purpose?  When you do that, hopefully you will be able to see what is truth and what are deceptive lies.  It is tantamount that we can tell the difference.  Our very lives, our very nation may depend upon you being able to define goodness and evil.  It should be obvious, and hopefully it is.

Postscript 11/15/2020

Two days ago Morocco broke a 30 year truce with the Western Sahara, formally known as Spanish Sahara.  All these years later, the vote for independence has yet to occur.  What you have in Morocco is an authoritarian Royal Monarchy/Islamic regime controlling the population.  All the people want in Western Sahara is control over their own lives.  Is that too much to ask?  Why does Morocco want to keep Western Sahara for its own?  Phosphate. 



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