Thursday, March 31, 2016

Just take a look at how slick and manipulative the Uber taxi brokerage is.... consider their promotion, "Limited-time guarantee: Earn $4,700/mo* in Toronto" So far as I can tell this is a new Uber campaign, and is timed to coincide with the proposed regulations for ride-sharing services and the taxi industry Toronto municipal licensing staff will release next week. Note the asterisk*. That refers to the fine print. Here is the fine print: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Offer is subject to change. Partner will be eligible for the guarantee amount in effect upon signup. Partner must be online in Toronto during the incentive period to qualify for the guarantee. Partners must drive a minimum of 40 hours per week to be eligible for the guarantee. Partner must take first trip within 30 days of signup to be eligible for guarantee. Once a partner takes a first trip, the guarantee will last for full four weeks (i.e. 28 days). To qualify for this offer, partner must complete at least 2 trips per hour. Trips per hour (TPH) is calculated by taking your total number of completed trips in a given incentive period divided by the total number of hours that you were online during that same incentive period. First month guarantees are paid weekly (for a period of four weeks). First month guarantees begin the Monday (at 4AM) after a partner's first trip. To qualify for this offer, partner must maintain a 90% acceptance rate over all hours driven. Your acceptance rate is calculated by taking the total number of trip requests that you accepted during the incentive period divided by the total number of trip requests that were sent to you during that same incentive period. To qualify for this offer, partner must maintain a completion rate of 25%. Completion rate is calculated by taking your total number of completed trips in a given incentive period divided by the total number of trip requests that you received in the given incentive period. To qualify for this offer, partner must maintain a 4.5 rating. Guaranteed amounts are average gross fares, and include the Uber service fee. Booking Fee and tolls are not included in the guaranteed amount. We reserve the right to withhold or deduct payments that we determine or believe were in error, fraudulent, illegal, or in violation of driver terms or these terms. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A couple of Uberpeople.net members commented on the program. Biozon said, "To many conditions." (sic) A second one chimes in, "Aaaand what about protecting our butts?? Some of us signed on with Aviva because we don't want to screw our future. I may work in T. this summer depending on job circumstances or London. Uber is asking anyone who protected themselves with Aviva's insurance to blow it. No thanks." A friend of mine, who drives for Uber because the City of Hamilton suspended his taxi driver's license, for alleged non-compliance with taxi regulations (duh!), has also told me that Uber's guaranteed earnings campaigns are impossible to, uhm, comply with. Ergo.... an Uber driver can almost never meet the stated conditions.... either there are not enough trips or the app crashes throwing him offline. But what I find most significant about this Uber campaign is the condition that its "partners," - " must drive a minimum of 40 hours per week to be eligible for the guarantee." 40 hours per week. In spite of the fact that the new Aviva "ridesharing" policies are only valid for Uber cabbies who drive no more than 20 hours per week. Uber surely knows this. They also know that almost none of their partners are carrying proper taxi insurance. The conclusion is that Uber is knowingly incentivizing its cab drivers to take serious risks with respect to their insurance coverage. And not only that, Uber is knowingly subjecting a naive and unsuspecting public to the risks of inadequate insurance coverage. And in spite of all of THAT.... politicians are all busy re-writing the taxi bylaws to give Uber costless entry into the taxi market that will devastate the existing fleets of fully insured taxis. You can't make this stuff up.



Thursday, March 24, 2016


 
Islam and Uber can do no wrong. Trump and Christians can do no right. Or so a casual, non-committed observer of current events might be forgiven for believing.
 
It starts out with a report on the politics around the murders in Brussels, and the apparent correlation between Islam and terrorism. It seemed a bit gutsy to me that anyone today would even mention such an idea.
 
What really struck me was the account of how banks and corporations are increasingly immune from the law. It was a perfect fit for Uber.
 
It ends up defending the rights of Christians to live and act in accordance with their beliefs, no matter how "primitive" they may seem to progressives. It seemed a bit gutsy to me that anyone today would even mention such an idea. (!)
 



 
One of the first questions people ask when they learn I am a taxi driver is, "Has anyone ever puked in your cab?"
 
I don't know why the answer to that question seems to hold such fascination for people. How often do nurses get asked if anyone puked on their scrubs?
 
When I went to an Uber recruiting session in Hamilton last year, someone from the group of candidates asked the host about the dreaded "P" issue. I laughed when I heard him respond, "People don't puke in Uber cabs." Yeah, right.
 
Has anyone ever puked in your Uber?
 
See a few answers below. No surprises.
 
Has anyone successfully recieve cleaning fee?
 


 
My Tweet of the day.
 


 
There are SO MANY reasons to hate this trend toward the "cashless society" that it is difficult to know where to begin. But I do have an example that is fresh in my mind right now.
 
Yesterday, I spoke with an agent about getting my own debit machine for use in my taxi. Here is a synopsis of the conversation:
 
Him: How can I help you?
 
Me: I would like to get a debit machine for use in my taxi.
 
Him: Okay. I can help you. It will cost $X to send you the machine, $Y per month, plus a $300 set-up fee which is refundable if you do $3,000 worth of credit card transactions in the first three months.
 
Me: Well, I already know that I will not do $3,000 worth of credit card transactions in three months, so I guess this plan will not work for me.
 
Him: Okay, we have a second plan. This one only involves paying a $150 set-up fee, but it will be refunded if you do $1,000 worth of credit card transactions in the first three months.
 
Me: (It's a good thing I used the Square for one full year and already knew that $1,000 was unachievable unless I started begging customers to use their credit cards, so I told him that wouldn't work either. It also struck me as odd that there would be a much lower set-up fee in anticipation of much lower volume. So, feeling a bit sheepish at having to admit that my business does not involve such large sums of money, I told him that I was probably not interested. That was when he came up with his third proposal.)
 
Him: Well, Okay. This is what I will do, I will send you the machine and you only have to pay for shipping and handling. There will be no $300 or $150 set-up fee and you won't have to pay the $60 + tax monthly fee for the first two months.
 
Me: (Having noticed that the set-up fee was quickly reduced to zero because my anticipated volumes were too low, a Monty Pythonish scenario if ever there was one, I was left a little dazed.) So, you mean I don't have to pay anything, other than the $75 (shipping) to get the machine?
 
Him: Yes.
 
Me: Can you send me an email confirming that?
 
Him: That would take some time, and I would rather conclude this arrangement right now.
 
Me: I am reluctant to proceed unless I get something in writing.
 
Him: Okay, I will email it to you.
 
Me: (It took less than a minute for me to receive the email.)
 
Me: Okay, I've got it.
 
It said,
 
"Hi Hans,
 
I will charge you $75 for the initial cost and I will waive 2 months of your monthly rental. Within the 2 months if you decide to cancel please give us a call and we will pick up the unit at no cost to you. After that it would be $60 + tax"
 
I also recorded part of the conversation to protect myself.
 
The lesson I learned from this is that they seem to be desperate to distribute these machines, and far from having any real necessity to charge a $300 set-up fee, they are more than happy to waive that fee just to start skimming a steady percentage of your business, no matter how slim your revenues might be.
 
And the insight I derived is that these institutions are ready to do JUST ABOUT ANYTHING to wean the population from the convenience and privacy of cash. Because, in part, as it applies to cab driving:
 
In the old days, all you needed to worry about was having a wallet. The last time I bought a wallet it cost me about $20. It was good for a few years. Now I find myself propelled into a world where I need the equivalent of an electronic wallet, and one which, far from costing me about $20 every few years will cost me $60 + tax EVERY MONTH. That's $720 per year just to have an extra wallet.
 
But you have no choice because the sheeple are embracing the concept without any doubts or misgivings as to the consequences of abandoning control of their medium of exchange. What will you do in an age of Zirp and Nirp, if the option of converting your money into cash disappears? Or even in the event of a widespread power outage?
 
Do not go gentle into that good night.
 


 
VIRAL VIDEO: Black cop tells the TRUTH about Trump rallies
 


 


 
"I'm Going to Kill Donald Trump" Threatens a Mentally Handicapped Man Influenced by Social Media
 

 
Joe-Anne Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie Guest Rant
 
December 21, 2010
 
Professor Block is currently recovering from the serious hangover he thinks he is going to have on New Year’s Day.
 
Despite UB’s circumstances, he nevertheless felt obliged to provide his devoted readers (reader? Spell checker?) with some content, something to mull over, or something to reject, out-of-hand, as being too preposterous to consider.
 
Well, he knows no one reads his regular rants because they are just too boringly conventional…. not to mention his incessant Bible Thumping. So this morning UB has invited one of his old guest authors to stand in for him.
 
For readers of the, now defunct magazine of news, opinion, comics and humour, Crazy Mag, our guest author, Joe-Anne Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie needs no introduction.
 
For other(s?) perhaps a little background is called for.
 
Joe-Anne Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie is the latest in the line of hyphenated surname users.
 
Her Father’s name was Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubber. Her mother’s name, thankfully, was only Enkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie .
 
When they got married, under water, in the nude, by some radical Muslim cleric with Jewish sympathies they decided to take advantage of the similarities in their surnames to shorten things up a bit. So, instead of adopting the new surname of Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubber-Enkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie they merged the identical parts and came up with the truncated, Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie.
 
(Which begs the question. Who has the longest name in the world?)
 
Oh well, who really cares. The only thing Joe-Anne Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie is worried about right now is the apparent crush her daughter has for Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Senior.
 
Now that you are more familiar with Joe-Anne Schnickenkeimskivichenzochung-SchickelGrubbeAnchovie’s background we give you her sports report.

 
“The one team scored more points than the other team. Therefore, the first team won.”

 
Wow! That was so exciting!
 
Thank you so much for your report, Joe-Anne.. uhm…. Whatever….
 
Tune in next week to find out whether the other team won. (Rah!)
 

 
Die Gedanken sind frei. December, 29th, 2010

 
Isn't It interesting how some sayings from the past begin to lose their effect as we grow older and our world changes?
 
Consider this one, "Without liberty the brain is a dungeon."
 
And this one, "Die Gedanken sind frei." (Your thoughts are free.)
 
And look into the future a little bit to where modern technology has rendered the need for external computer hardware obsolete.
 
The trend has been toward increasing miniaturization. Is it hard to imagine a day when we shall no longer require keyboards and monitors to access the internet … a day when all we will need is a computer chip implanted in our brain?
 
When that day comes there will be much applause.
 
The ghosts of Alvin Toffler and Gene Roddenberry will be happy because they saw it coming.
 
The, “Greens,” will love it because it will use so much less energy and, “stuff.”
 
Retailers, like Wal-Mart, will love it because, having implanted RFID chips in all of their merchandise, coupled with (eventually mandatory) RFID chips in all citizens they will be able to fire all of their cashiers.
 
The “checkout counter,” will become a thing of the past. (We already see the early stages of this evolving technology at some stores where you scan your own purchases instead of interfacing with a human being.)
 
The trend clearly indicates a time when shoppers will simply go into the store to pick up the stuff they want and walk out with it. Their RFID chips will be linked to their bank accounts. No debit card required.
 
Shoplifting will be stopped dead in it‘s tracks.
 
When we no longer require keyboards and monitors to access the internet….
 
The people will love it for the most part. They will no longer require the purchase of dictionaries, or cell phones, or computers or TV sets. Once trained in the new implanted technology people will come to regard the entire knowledge base of the World Wide Web as part of their subconscious mind. When wondering, during conversation, “Who wrote that song?” they shall no longer be limited by the contents of their biological memory. The answer will be stored on a server somewhere.
 
Every brain will have an IP address.
 
Do you want to watch a movie? Just close your eyes and it will be downloaded directly to your brain in stunning clarity and 3-D. (How will that impact copyright law? Will every original thought be entitled to a royalty?)
 
Imagine… seven billion minds all connected to this massive network. Seven billion minds, each containing about 100 billion cells. Seven billion times 100 billion…. The number starts to sound a lot like US government debt obligations.
 
With the ability to both upload and download. To communicate. Without speaking. Telepathy will be a fact.
 
Will our planet begin to resemble a forgotten episode of Star Trek? A thinking planet?
 
A thinking planet? Not if the government gets involved.
 
Because, obviously, once technology has evolved to the level I have imagined here, you can bet your bottom digital dollar that the government will be intimately involved.
 
Every move you make will be recorded and time stamped.
 
Every time you do something for someone else you (and they) will be taxed.
 
Every time you do something to improve the life of another person, or they you, it will be time stamped, recorded…. and taxed.
 
In a post money world, every benefit you derive, no matter how seemingly insignificant, will trigger a tax liability. Forget about the 13% deducted from your digital account for that burger combo you just purchased…. Start to fear the next time you feel good because a pretty girl smiled at you.
 
Your biorhythms are being monitored by the state.
 
In accordance with the prevailing acceptance of zero sum theory, one man’s gain is another man’s loss.
 
If she smiled at you then she didn’t smile at him. Your gain was his loss. His “rights,” have been violated. You must, therefore, pay.
 
Isn’t that the essence of socialism? Isn’t the primary goal of socialism to ensure that everyone gets the same amount of benefit? If one reads the socialist ideal correctly would the concept of “equality,” be restricted to merely monetary matters? After all…. There are so many other inequalities in life that just cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents.
 
When every brain on earth has the capacity to interface directly with every other brain the creative and productive potential of the human race will be multiplied by orders of magnitude.
 
It will be a two way street though. If you can access the contents of someone else’s mind then they should also be able to access the contents of yours.
 
Every human brain will have an IP address. It will become your essential identity for purposes of debiting, crediting and ….. Taxation. Nothing will escape the larcenous eye of the state. The asshole in the “man on the street,” interview who says, I don’t mind this level of government intrusion because I have nothing to hide will finally start to make sense…. Because he will, in fact, have absolutely nothing, therefore, nothing to hide (The same guy who lets some TSA goon “touch his junk,” in the interest of “safety.”)
 
A man with nothing has nothing to hide. All he has left is his life. That is when the firing squad comes back into play. (Ever wonder why, despite our own system being every bit as despotic and evil as those of the Soviet and Chinese communists or the NAZIs, we don’t see the same brutal tactics being employed? Well… the answer is simple…. Those poor fucks didn’t have houses or bank accounts that could be seized. Or licenses that could be revoked. The only way the state could get its greedy fingers around his balls was to threaten him with death.
 
When the middle class of the formerly capitalistic West has finally been gutted and de-boned, and the only leverage left to the state is a man‘s life….. Who seriously doubts that firing squads will not come back into fashion. It‘s all about economics.)
 
And even if brilliant software writers develop psychological firewalls preventing unwanted access to the contents of your mind, rest assured, that some enterprising politician will be drafting legislation mandating that the government be given a universal, back door encryption key or whatever, so that it can carry out warrantless and “sneak and peak,“ searches of your deepest thoughts. Imagine a WORM with a BADGE.
 
Unfortunately, as the technology evolves, the State will continue to demand it’s historically disproportionate degree of influence in the decision making process. It will need to know, therefore, not only what is in your bank account but what is in your brain.
 
And to reward or punish you accordingly.
 
I think this whole line of inquiry adds an entirely new spin to the old sayings,
 
"Without liberty the brain is a dungeon."
 
And
 
"Die Gedanken sind frei." (Your thoughts are free.)
 
Maybe today they are still basically true.
 
Tomorrow?
 

China rate hike, commodities, inflation, debt crisis


 
Peter Schiff is right most of the time.
 

 

Keiser Report: Bank of America Sucks & Blows (E107)


 
Max is right a lot of the time too. At other times he’s dead wrong. For example, he still buys into the Manmade-Global-Warming-Let’s-Give-government-control-over-every-aspect-of-our-lives-and make-people-like-Al-Gore-obscenely-rich scam. In this video he seems to think that, what he and his guest call, “privatization,” has been such a failure that we might as well just throw in the towel and continue to welcome and accept Government Inc. as the monopoly provider of such essential services as transportation, health care and education.
 
Yeah, right…. So they will all perform as wonderfully as the Government Inc. road monopoly. (Potholes, idiotic traffic rules, massive line-ups for service, [I.E. traffic congestion, arbitrary shut-downs for bicycle races and movie making and other politically influential groups at public expense, aggravation and delay etc.,] )
 
Max is a very smart man. Why he hasn’t yet realized that Government Inc. has it’s dirty fingerprints all over every major economic dislocation and scandal remains a mystery….especially when he comes right down and exposes it, time and again, in his rants.
 


 
Freedom is Slavery


 



 

 
March 6, 2010
 
I got that idea from Orwell.
 
But, as I look around me these days, I think the words should be reversed.... Slavery is Freedom.
 
Yes, that seems to more accurately predict the attitudes I see around me.
 
HI remember someone once trying to convince me that "free enterprise was neither."
 
I could never figure out what he was trying to tell me. It kinda struck me as being equivalent to saying, "football is neither."
 
Maybe my logic is impaired.... (where is my disability check????) so I figure what he was trying to tell me was that "free enterprise," is neither free nor enterprise.
 
In the movie, I noticed a sign... it said, "Regulation Meal."
 
Sound remotely familiar?
 
In another segment I noted, "Ignorance is strength."
 
All I could think of at the moment was the person I heard asking, "Where is my Obama money." Yes, ignorance is strength... but not to the person who asked that question.... would it be too much for me to conjecture that ignorance is indeed the strength of those who wish to rule the ignorant?
 
The sheep, the cattle.... the livestock.
 
I went into a Tim Horton restaurant recently and I saw this guy come in with a ring around his nose.
 
Being who I am, I could not help but interpret his self immolation as an open invitation to those who would govern to grab that nose ring and lead him on down to the pastures of socialism. Was he a product of government education? How could he so willingly advertise that he was willing to be treated as nothing more than livestock?
 
Thought Crime
 
We are not there yet. We don't have the technology. Just wait until the government has come up with a way of expropriating technology, skewing it to it's own ends... to the point where every citizen will be required by law to have a "thought chip," implanted in their mind.
 
The "Human Rights Commissions," will have a field day!
 
No longer will they have to rely upon interpretations of things you said, or are alleged to have said, or things you said which might be subject to various interpretations.
 
Nope, once those state mandated electrodes are implanted in your brain..... there will be no escape for anyone who has an opinion outside the parameters prescribed by the state.
 
They will have you squarely by the balls.
 

 
If you doubt this, just consider what happens to some people if they dare to volunteer what it is they may be thinking.... they could have avoided being skewerd by the HRC's if only they had shut the fuck up!
 
But they foolishly opened their mouths and revealed the contents of their minds.
 
When individuals are perscuted for speaking their minds, is it such a stretch to imagine that, given the technology, they not be persecuted for using their minds?
 
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU
 
The government of the City of Hamilton has, by virtue of it's coercive power to permit or deny the right to earn a living, imposed a new mandate upon the local taxi industry. As of May, 1st, 2010.... all taxicabs will be required to have in car cameras.
 
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.
 
I noticed a sign or something in the movie... about the "Ministry of Nice." It instantly reminded me of Dagwood McGoofball's mandatory.... yes, MANDATORY, holiday.... "Family Day," which mostly benefits public sector union members, who get yet another day off with pay... at the expense of the rest of us. Now isn't "family day," just NICE?
 
I think of how NICE it is... when I go to work on that day. It's so NICE i have to double up on my beer purchase the day before because I am such a NICE guy. And because the nice people who work for the government have a right to enjoy quality time with their families while I am expected to keep on working to make it happen.
 
You know, I am getting tired of being NICE.
 
1984
 

 
March 6, 2010
 
I got that idea from Orwell.
 
But, as I look around me these days, I think the words should be reversed.... Slavery is Freedom.
 
Yes, that seems to more accurately predict the attitudes I see around me.
 
HI remember someone once trying to convince me that "free enterprise was neither."
 
I could never figure out what he was trying to tell me. It kinda struck me as being equivalent to saying, "football is neither."
 
Maybe my logic is impaired.... (where is my disability check????) so I figure what he was trying to tell me was that "free enterprise," is neither free nor enterprise.
 
In the movie, I noticed a sign... it said, "Regulation Meal."
 
Sound remotely familiar?
 
In another segment I noted, "Ignorance is strength."
 
All I could think of at the moment was the person I heard asking, "Where is my Obama money." Yes, ignorance is strength... but not to the person who asked that question.... would it be too much for me to conjecture that ignorance is indeed the strength of those who wish to rule the ignorant?
 
The sheep, the cattle.... the livestock.
 
I went into a Tim Horton restaurant recently and I saw this guy come in with a ring around his nose.
 
Being who I am, I could not help but interpret his self immolation as an open invitation to those who would govern to grab that nose ring and lead him on down to the pastures of socialism. Was he a product of government education? How could he so willingly advertise that he was willing to be treated as nothing more than livestock?
 
Thought Crime
 
We are not there yet. We don't have the technology. Just wait until the government has come up with a way of expropriating technology, skewing it to it's own ends... to the point where every citizen will be required by law to have a "thought chip," implanted in their mind.
 
The "Human Rights Commissions," will have a field day!
 
No longer will they have to rely upon interpretations of things you said, or are alleged to have said, or things you said which might be subject to various interpretations.
 
Nope, once those state mandated electrodes are implanted in your brain..... there will be no escape for anyone who has an opinion outside the parameters prescribed by the state.
 
They will have you squarely by the balls.
 

 
If you doubt this, just consider what happens to some people if they dare to volunteer what it is they may be thinking.... they could have avoided being skewerd by the HRC's if only they had shut the fuck up!
 
But they foolishly opened their mouths and revealed the contents of their minds.
 
When individuals are perscuted for speaking their minds, is it such a stretch to imagine that, given the technology, they not be persecuted for using their minds?
 
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU
 
The government of the City of Hamilton has, by virtue of it's coercive power to permit or deny the right to earn a living, imposed a new mandate upon the local taxi industry. As of May, 1st, 2010.... all taxicabs will be required to have in car cameras.
 
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.
 
I noticed a sign or something in the movie... about the "Ministry of Nice." It instantly reminded me of Dagwood McGoofball's mandatory.... yes, MANDATORY, holiday.... "Family Day," which mostly benefits public sector union members, who get yet another day off with pay... at the expense of the rest of us. Now isn't "family day," just NICE?
 
I think of how NICE it is... when I go to work on that day. It's so NICE i have to double up on my beer purchase the day before because I am such a NICE guy. And because the nice people who work for the government have a right to enjoy quality time with their families while I am expected to keep on working to make it happen.
 
You know, I am getting tired of being NICE.
 
1984
 


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Question.

From your point of view, which level of government suggests to you that most politicians and their bureaucratic hirelings are either:

1 - complete idiots

2 - complete sociopaths who are only pretending they care about their constituents

3 - ordinary people who figure that going into politics is a good way to earn a decent income via salaries, perks and bribes (plus you get to rub shoulders with celebrities and influential business people.)

4 - idealists who believe that going into public service is more noble than serving the public by producing stuff and providing services

5 - doing a good job

For me, it depends upon which level of government you are talking about.

It is much more difficult, from my point of view, to really understand what is going on at the provincial or federal level.

Of course, I do have an opinion. And I am confident that my opinion is close to the truth.

For example, at a provincial level here in Ontario, we have a government which obviously knows all the right buttons to push, and which levers to pull, in order to secure their positions of power. They know who to pay off with subsidies and favourable legislation in exchange for votes. They know how to scam the public with phony scares (Oohhh! The earth's climate changes! We must prevent it.) And they know who they can screw with impunity.

The more you acquaint yourself with history, the more you will be able to recognize this pattern.

On a federal level, the same principles apply but again, it is more difficult for the average voter to determine whether there is some grand design to the policies adopted by the rulers, or whether it's just another myopic enterprise intended to enhance political careers at the expense of the population.

My theory is that the closer you are to your government, the more likely you will be able to see how screwed up it is because it is more likely to affect you directly. Whether it's getting an unjustified, tricky, or spiteful parking ticket, or having your business damaged by unnecessary, ideologically-driven road construction, whether it involves mind numbingly stupid transportation planning that consistently makes it more difficult and expensive to get around, or whether you are in a local government regulated industry, like the taxi business, who gets blamed for the results of regulatory incompetence, I would put my money on local government as conforming most closely to choices 1 - 4 above.

If you agree with me that it is easiest to see how counter-productive and dysfunctional government is at the local level then just imagine what it implies if this same principle of dysfunctionality applies at all levels of government.

If local government is responsible for so many undeserved misfortunes, like unnecessary traffic congestion, hugely overpriced services, numerous impediments to the conduct of business, including outright bankruptcy, the funding of special interests, the fines and the suspension, brake, tire and steering repairs necessitated by all of the potholes, speed bumps and other "traffic calming" mechanisms etc., imagine how serious the consequences could be at higher levels of government.

I've been reviewing the history of WWI for the last week or so. Even though the conflict happened about 100 years ago, the magnitude of higher level government failure strikes me with as much force as if it were happening today. (Note: I think it would have been much less likely to have happened if the majority had been better educated and more thoughtful than the average football fanatic. Look at all of those ecstatic young cannon fodder, cheering and waving their hats at the outbreak of hostilities. Poor fuckers really thought they were going to play soccer or something. - I remember my mother telling me that when she was just a teenager she honestly believed that the British soldiers were going off to have fist-fights with the Germans. What she said did not strike me as being highly significant until recently. Note 2: Why was Viet Nam the first, and last Televison War? Well, I used to be a real war fan as a kid. After seeing all of the dinner-time news reports, the burning Bhuddists, the napalm girl, the Saigon execution, and all of the torn bodies on stretchers being rushed to the medevacs, I came out of the 1960's in a decidedly anti-war frame of mind.)

Today, the political landscape looks just as crazy as ever. The whole world is starting to resemble "No Man's Land."

And on and on it goes, with the same old politicians spewing the same bullshit, and promising to fix things.

I may not have encyclopedic knowledge, but I definitely notice patterns. Patterns, like statistics, may not be able to provide exact conclusions, but in the absence of more precise data, they are better than nothing.

The more I observe current events, along with allocating time to learning about history, the more the same basic patterns become visible.

Perhaps a day will come when the "virtue" of leadership will be seen as a vice. That is when the healing will begin.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

'When Will They Ever Learn' Volume 2


This is an extension of my Volume 1 rant from Aug. 29/15 on Uncle Block's website: 'Blockrants'.

It continues to bewilder or shall I say infuriate me that these councillors that govern Hamilton, Ontario couldn't care less about people who work hard for a living...they just crave for their money. It seems to be an incurable disease these tricksters possess and maintain, constantly demanding citizens' cash. A perfect example of this was an article in the Hamilton Spectator Feb. 16/16. Someone at city hall had the audacity and preposterous idea of raising monthly parking rates on city owned lots. The primary reason for this 'critical affair' was monthly bus passes were more expensive ($95.00/month) than the monthly parking fees...I guess it's too simple to just lower the price of a bus pass. How did they become so expensive in the first place...did council have anything to do with that? Another reason for the massive concern was supposedly Hamilton had the cheapest costs in the province. As I anticipated and reported in the Hamilton Spectator Feb. 23/16 city council voted in favour (why wouldn't they) to increase the monthly parking charge $10.00/month. Again, punish and penalize people who drive their vehicles to work.

Ward 3 Councillor Jason Farr applauded the hike and this is what he had to say: "it's the cheapest deal in Ontario. I think we need to address that if we're truly trying to encourage more people to get out of their cars and on to a bus." What the hell are you saying Jason? Because it's the cheapest deal in Ontario we should automatically raise the amount...MY, MY, MY. No Frills grocery store has cheaper food costs than Fortino's Supermarket but I don't see anyone forcing No Frills to raise their food prices because they are the cheapest. Once again politicians discouraging and demoralizing hard working folks from driving to and from work. The article also stated the city's 'hustle' would be an additional $238,000 in revenue but will have to pay $61,000 for city employees parking so the net profit is $177,000.

The two way conversions on James and John Streets is another example of wasting tax payers money. For years both streets were one way, James St. southbound and John St. northbound. Everything was fine and dandy, traffic flowing nicely and drivers dealt with little or no stress, BUT, a powerful force of 'knowledgeable' and 'full of wisdom' bureaucrats came along one day and decided for a change...at the expense of tax payers. They chose to replace a logical transit plan with a slower, bumper to bumper idea that would frustrate and irritate people driving. One reason, so the regime says is businesses will thrive...I disagree, just like what I said in Volume 1 "if the product and/or service is good people will come." A friend of mine who use to own a restaurant on James St. South told me his business was no different after the two way conversion...it didn't decrease but it didn't increase. I ask myself about businesses on John St. A stretch from Charlton Ave. to Barton St. (just under 2 km) is home for a number of businesses. However a very high percentage of these establishments are commercial firms ie auto body shops, hair salons and offices...not for the avid consumer who likes to shop on a Saturday afternoon.

Then we have a perfect example of what I call complete disorganized confusion or a.k.a. the right hand hasn't a clue what the left hand is doing. The following I know from fact. Parking meters and sign posts were installed on the north side of Wilson St. just east of James St. North when Wilson St. was one way eastbound. A short while later the City Hall 'think tank' elected to convert Wilson St. to two way and the meters and posts had to be removed. History repeated itself once again at Laurenzo's School of Hair Design at 90 John St. South between Jackson and Hunter Streets. Parking meters and signs were erected and then removed because John St. was made in to a two way thoroughfare, a complete waste of time, effort and tax payers money at both locations...supreme thoughtlessness.

We can't forget, yet another blunder and failure by our so called 'leaders' with the 2 km Bus Only lane on King St. directly in the downtown core. As usual this project had a premature death only lasting a few weeks and costing tax payers $400,000...yep, put them in and then take them out.

City Hall is notably top-heavy with management and there are a lot more employees earning over $100,000 a year that the Hamilton Spectator reports every year in their 'Sunshine Club' article

The top breadwinner is City Manager Chris Murray who earns over $250,000 between salary and benefits, and yes you read it correctly, over $250,000 a year. I read an article in the Spectator (Feb. 22/16) which dazzled me and must say I find highly questionable where Mr. Murray stated Hamilton is a world class city...I wonder what he was drinking that day of the interview. Urban dictionary states a world class city is a major international destination. Most often it is a major international, political, cultural or commercial centre. It is an exciting place and has plenty of culture and according to Wikipedia a world class city must have certain standard characteristics such as international financial services, headquarters of several multinational corporations, existence of financial headquarters ie stock market and have major manufacturing centres with a port and container facilities...I think Hamilton strikes out as being a world class city. Since Chris thinks Hamilton is a world class city, I wonder if he and the City Hall gang will bid to be a host city for future winter or summer Olympic Games...I suppose our city manager has to be ridiculously politically correct because of his yearly pay cheque...in case you forgot $250,000 plus.

Speaking of political correctness, I remember that terrible and horrific day, April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed. Not long after that disastrous event Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow was asked if Hamilton could handle an Oklahoma City bombing and he replied yes we can. Meanwhile the Oklahoma City Mayor at that time, Ronald J. Norrick, stated no one could manage what his city has gone through...maybe Bob was going to don his superman outfit if anyone tried that in Hamilton.

Bob's political correctness bit him in the ass in 1997 at the infamous Plastimet fire in the north end of the city...he was the mayor at that time. The city certainly didn't handle that emergency too well. However, there is absolutely no disrespectfulness to the firefighters who fought that inferno and later on had to deal with tragic loss of life and serious illness. I read a book by Jon Wells titled 'Heat-A Firefighters Story'. I found it very confusing that Senior Officials were debating the use of foam to extinguish the blaze but the idea was quickly buried...Hmm, I wonder why, could it be foam is very expensive? I also read an article on Social and Political Thoughts titled 'The Hamilton Plastimet Fire:A Political Anatomy of an Environmental Disaster' by Cheryl Lousley from the University of Toronto. She stated the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MOEE), Hamilton City Council and the Public Health Dept. were contradictory, defensive, evasive and cautious. Yea, I believe it, the fire burned for four days, hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes and cost $5 million dollars...but we could handle an Oklahoma City bombing.

I read an article in the Spectator March 9/16 titled 'Merulla wants Kings Forest to be a golf capital'. If that happens fine, so be it. What I found repulsive was what Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla said in the article, "at the end of day, just like anything else we do, we pursue what is in the best interests of the tax payer"...how many times have we heard that bull shit pour out from politicians mouths...political correctness, makes me want to puke.

It's certainly disgraceful that these councillors took very little time deciding to raise monthly parking rates but completely procrastinate about serious issues such as licensed cabbies and Uber drivers. It is indisputable there is a two tier tax system...with absolutely no rules for Uber drivers. Some licensed cab drivers' livelihood is quickly being destroyed because of councils lackadaisical approach on making a decision. A very good friend of mine who is a certified taxi driver told me his taxi plate is almost worthless because of this two category network. It's not about free enterprise and capitalism, it's about FAIRNESS. There are stringent bylaws and regulations for legal and valid cab drivers but no rules for Uber drivers...different strokes for different folks and the councillors are totally oblivious to this matter.

At times I think about the safety on our two expressways, the 'Parkway' and 'Linc'. I wrote a rant titled 'So Sad' on May 23/15...it can be found in Blockrants website. A portion of the story dealt with two young girls who died in a motor vehicle accident while driving their van on the 'Parkway'. Shortly after the accident Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla and Ward 5 Councillor Chad Collins said they would look in to more safeguards on our expressways, specifically the 'Parkway' where the girls perished. Well, a year later nothing really stupendous has occurred as far as added safety measures. Sure, the city installed plastic reflectors on the road in line with pavement markings (skips) but let's ask ourselves the question...are these reflectors going to prevent a vehicle driving across the median to the other side of oncoming traffic and colliding with another vehicle?...I think we all know what the answer is. There is approximately a 4 km 'jog' where there are no Jersey Barriers. Jersey Barriers are a major safety feature and help prevent fatalities...why don't these councillors understand!

Between the two-tier taxi system and public safety on the expressways, it reminds me of the 1968 song titled 'Too Much Talk and Not Enough Action' by Paul Revere and the Raiders. It amazes me when other trivial issues are introduced such as bike lanes, two-way conversions, ridiculous bump outs and traffic obstructions throughout the city, they are a CRUCIAL PRIORITY...when it comes to peoples jobs and public safety it seems they don't give a 'flying fuck' but then again why should they?...they don't drive a taxi for a living or had loved ones killed on the 'Parkway'. Hmm...makes me wonder.

A friend of mine who lives in London, Ontario told me his regime running their three ring circus is no different than the 'sideshow' in Hamilton...unquestionably the virus spreads.

Epilogue

The councillors appear clueless and apathetic at times. Some times their irrational and nauseating 'thinking' is just downright wrong. Oh, yea, property taxes are going to increase again. Maybe we should have Vulcans operating they municipalities...better still the province and the country.

The End

Harvenut Puritan

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