A report from Burma (Update #14)

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 28, 2021, 9:20 am

  2. March 28, 2021, 8:17 pm:

    • My car has reached the end of its road.

      Despite my fury at being stuck driving for Uber and Lyft (see original text below), I was driving again today, when the engine died. The console displayed “Check Hybrid System” and “Check VSC System.”

      These indications have been a recurring problem. By the time the dealer looks at the car, they’ve disappeared without a trace. And they don’t recur for several thousand utterly unpredictable miles.

      The last time this happened, I speculatively had a relay replaced. It was the cheapest of three possible causes of the problem. That was last July (2020) and I figured I was in luck, that this had fixed the problem.

      But today, it was back. I called a tow truck and had the car towed. But when we got to the Toyota dealer, who would have to deal with this sort of thing, the indications had cleared, suggesting that we were back in the situation where, yet again, the dealer wouldn’t be able to reproduce the problem.

      So I tried going back out, on the theory it would be several thousand miles until the next failure. No such luck. It failed again, with a passenger in the car this time.

      It was all I could do to get it home. I have removed all my belongings from it. My plan now is to junk it tomorrow, one way or another.

      When I look at my spreadsheet and I look at the amount above average in vehicle costs in the time (since I started working for Lyft and Uber in 2016) over 2020 and 2021, the total is $7,642.85. I very nearly could have bought another used car from my dealer in Rohnert Park, California, for that amount.

      That average includes the time driving in Pittsburgh, with its abysmal roads, so the excess since the beginning of 2020 is likely underestimated. But the excess also includes the damage from those roads, damage I hope to mitigate with a future, larger vehicle that will be better able to absorb the punishment.

      I will have to think hard about whether that vehicle will be another hybrid. Much as I like Toyota’s hybrid system—and I really do like it—the only mechanics around Pittsburgh who can work on hybrid systems are dealers, with whom my experience has not been great.

      Although the thought of letting Pittsburgh, especially the people here, destroy another vehicle is not even in the slightest bit enticing.

      I am hating this life. Every last bit of it.

  3. March 29, 2021, 1:13 pm:

    • Lindsey Graham says he “needs his own AR-15 . . . in case disaster strikes and he needs to defend his home against a roving ‘gang.’”[1] There is a new blog post entitled, “The thin logic of gun nuttery.”

    • So I woke up this morning and I ran some numbers. It turns out that for all the mileage (about 1,200) I put on a car in a week, I can rent a car through Uber’s deal with Hertz or Avis nearly as cheaply.

      Perhaps I missed a merger, but at least in Pittsburgh, it very much appears that Avis and Budget share locations, and the last time I rented a car through Budget, they charged me $600 too much. I’m not doing that again and I’m not trusting Avis to be separate enough from Budget. So it’s Hertz for me.

      But after accepting a reservation, and after I’d already gotten into an Uber to get clear across town to the one location that deals with Uber, I got a phone call from that location. They don’t have cars available.

      This isn’t just this location or this company. Probably any Uber or Lyft driver around Pittsburgh can tell you a story of ferrying passengers around trying to hook up with a rental car. After the company has accepted the reservation for a nonexistent car. As near as I can tell, this is because, for unknown reasons, all rental car companies in Pittsburgh hoard all their cars at the airport. Which isn’t the location that deals with Uber.

  4. March 29, 2021, 3:06 pm:

    • The universe is screaming at me that this plan doesn’t work.

      The only suggestions I have involve compromise. My god. All I have done my entire life is compromise. Because it was all I could see to do. And look where it’s gotten me. Right where I am.

      Is it really asking so much that there should be a plan that makes some kind of fucking sense? That might actually work?

      • You know, instead of let’s just see how much more the capitalists can exploit me and treat me worse than shit. Even with a Ph.D.

      • You know, instead of let’s just see how many more seven day weeks I can tolerate with no life, no hope of a life, because I’m working all the time, trying to keep the wolves at bay.

      • You know, instead of letting Pittsburgh roads and Pittsburgh people destroy yet another car so I can go on not even making minimum wage, let alone a living wage. Oh, but still owing taxes.

      • You know, instead of having nothing for when I’m too old and decrepit to keep working but working seven days a week until that happens. Oh, and then ending up homeless because I have, well, nothing.

      Yeah, I think there really needs to be a better plan than this. But people have been ignoring me, ignoring my job applications, ignoring my humanity for twenty years, even as I returned to school, finished a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. It’s not their problem, they say. It’s never anybody’s problem.

      Just keep doing some flavor of what doesn’t work, they say. It doesn’t even remotely begin to make even a shard of sense, but keep fucking doing it.

      I’ll be 62 years old on April 29. I’m running out of time. So, sorry, but yes, I need a much better fucking plan than this.

  5. March 29, 2021, 3:52 pm:

    • The Crack’d Egg is back at it, trying yet again to open without complying with COVID-19 mitigation measures,[2] after having initially remaining open and flaunting their refusal to comply,[3] trying and failing to evade the orders with a bankruptcy filing,[4] closing rather than complying with the rules,[5] trying and finally failing to get an injunction against the order to comply with the rules.[6] At some point, you kinda have to think surely they’ll win at least one ruling. But it hasn’t happened yet.

  6. March 30, 2021, 1:37 am:

    • Because the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been so uneven around the globe, in part due to drug manufacturers’ insistence on preserving their intellectual property ‘rights,’[7] new, deadlier, and more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus will require new vaccines within a year.[8] This is apparently without even considering vaccine hesitancy in countries that have access to the vaccine.[9]

  7. March 30, 2021, 1:16 pm:

    • I have decided, after all, and very much at the risk of throwing good money after bad, decided to repair my car. It has a great sound system. A lot of the damage from Pittsburgh roads has recently been repaired. Hell, I just got it through its annual inspection.

      My intention, however, is not to return it to service driving for Uber and Lyft. This was something I never wanted to do to it in the first place. But did because I can’t find a fucking job.[10]

      So there are two immediate parts to this plan:

      • Get the car to Rohrich Toyota and let them fix it. I got it there. It still has the “check hybrid system” indication so they should be able to read a code. Hopefully they can fix it, however many thousands of dollars that will cost.

      • Rent a car through Uber at a discount rate that (see update from March 28, 2021, at 8:17 pm) appears comparable to the cost of operating my car but where somebody else absorbs much of the risk.

        This part ain’t going so well. There was the initial failure yesterday (see update from March 29, 2021, at 1:18 pm) that so far appears to be a repeat today (figure 1).


        Fig. 1. Screenshot of Twitter message to Hertz Car Rental, March 30, 2021, by author.

    • One of the things I’ve noticed since coming to Pittsburgh is that a lot of people here, including really well-paid people, really don’t seem to understand how to take care of business.

      There’s the Sunoco Oil credit card that I don’t use because I get too many spurious declines with it. There’s Dollar Bank, whose debit card seems similarly, though less severely, stupid. There’s that fiasco I had with AT&T, which is why I’m no longer an AT&T customer.[11] There are the Toyota dealers who’ve repeatedly told me that maintenance was required for things that wouldn’t need it for tens of thousands of miles yet to go.

      Today, I have Rohrich Toyota, whose service writer warns me they may not be able to get to my car until next week because they’re so far backed up. And I have this utter fuck up of a rental car company.

      Now, I know better. This is not how I do business. But here in Pittsburgh, they just say, “It is what it is,” throw their hands up, and refuse to challenge it. You hear it again and again, whether it’s traffic, a stop light, a multitude of road conditions, or something else: “It is what it is.”

      It’s an embrace not just of despair but of incompetence. My father would be on the warpath, probably going nuclear. And I gotta tell you, on this, I think he’d be right.

      And all this, of course, while I not only can’t get a real fucking job, but suffer the abuse of being an Uber and Lyft driver, even with a Ph.D.[12] Are you kidding me? I mean, seriously, this all has to be an incredibly bad joke.

  8. March 30, 2021, 5:40 pm:


    • Fig. 2. Screenshot of Twitter conversation with Hertz Car Rental, March 30, 2021, by author.

      I have found, and others have told me as well, that Twitter is often the very best way to get the attention of an unresponsive corporation. There is the implicit threat that your tweet will go viral. And, at the same time, there are actual humans manning the messaging function, where if you go any other way, you get lost in some phone or website menu system that expects your query to be a frequently asked question and doesn’t respond well when, as nearly always in my case, it isn’t.

      But with Hertz Car Rental, this is moving at a glacial pace.

      Meanwhile, that was a cute little $90 Uber trip to fetch my laundry because I now don’t have a car. (It was probably about $20 for the driver.) I had hoped to pick up the laundry on the way back from picking up the rental car. (And no, I don’t really dare continuing to drive my car with a hybrid system malfunction. That needs to be fixed.)

      Oh, and annoying too. I had a driver who claimed to have researched COVID-19 and conversed with well-credentialed scientists who backed his conspiracy theories.

    • source on threadreaderapp.com
      Archived at 2021-03-30 17:17:24

      Pittsburgh Green Left 🌻🥑 Profile picture

      Pittsburgh Green Left 🌻🥑

      Follow @PghGreenLeft

      30 Mar, 6 tweets, 2 min read

      The more cops try to explain their violence away as “well that was just my training”, the more it opens people’s eyes to the cruelty of the system. I don’t know how these individual cases will go but I think they’re losing the long-term public support the more they push.

      Some of my family is fairly conservative and even a few police in my family. As such some of my family was pretty adamant about how tough it is being an officer & the need to support them. Even they are having second thoughts learning what really goes on in jail & court.

      When the cops start losing the support of my Republican family members, we know there’s a shift going on.

      Cops of course could reverse this trend by toning it down even slightly, but much like capitalism, they are compelled to take it to extremes, always.

      Violent policing IS part of capitalism. The system is inherently violent and repressive. You’re not going to fix that – and the inability of cops to take responsibility for even the most egregious, obvious violence is beginning to open eyes to the nature of this system.

      The fact that politicians can’t help stumbling over themselves to fling even greater amounts of money at the cops – while cutting essential social services and botching a pandemic response – is further evidence that the ultimate power is capitalism, not the electoral system.

      Empires throughout history have made similar mistakes. In the wane of empire, they become paranoid and put all of their resources into “security”. But their safety is now in the hands of thugs who will turn on them, facing an angry population realizing it has always held power.

    • This, of course, will apply only until COVID-19 variants that evade the vaccine begin to spread.[13]

  9. March 30, 2021, 6:29 pm:

    • A quick Google search confirms that Avis and Budget are indeed a single entity, and thus that their coexistence in so many offices around Pittsburgh is no accident.

      I am really, really unhappy about being compelled to go to Avis, which is Uber’s alternative to Hertz. But my god. Hertz really seems to be “lights on, nobody home.” I’m gobsmacked.

  10. March 31, 2021, 10:45 am:

    • In a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, people who have actually been infected with the novel coronavirus may have a T-cell response to the variants[14] that already seem problematic.[15] This source says nothing about people who have been vaccinated[16] so I guess the prudent thing is to continue to assume new vaccines will still be needed[17] even if vaccine hesitancy[18] and a failure to distribute vaccines globally[19] are overcome.

    • An Uber is on the way to take me to the Avis location. The last time I rented from this location, the car had not been cleaned and smelled of cigarette smoke.

  11. March 31, 2021, 1:14 pm:

    • If before (see update for March 29, 2021, 3:06 pm) I was feeling that the universe was screaming at me that being an Uber/Lyft driver wasn’t working, I am feeling it doubly so, now.

      When I didn’t see rates conforming to what Uber had offered for rental cars on the Avis site, I figured this was a case of bait and switch. But my mother—and I don’t know how she did this without my even telling her my suspicion—found the clue. I had somehow managed not to get a reservation under Uber’s auspices but rather as an ordinary customer.

      Which, it turns out, is why I have a rental car now. A car, by the way, that I’m sure meets Uber’s requirements.

      I got there, hoping to sort all this out, and the man behind the counter said I’d have to make a new reservation and that he didn’t have any “Uber cars” right now. Which, given the sufficiency of the car I got, is to remind me that as an Uber driver, I am a second- or third-class citizen.

      So I took the car I had reserved. I have it for a week. I drove to my mailbox and picked up my mail, then drove home. It beats spending $90 for a round trip to Dormont, of which the driver might have gotten around $20 (see update for March 30, 2021, 5:40 pm), and wondering if I’m even going to be able to get a ride, which is pretty much the state of things for Uber and Lyft passengers these days.

      But I’m sorry. All I’m asking for is a life that makes some kind of sense. I don’t have it. And I can’t make whatever the fuck it is I’ve been doing work anymore. Just can’t.

  12. March 31, 2021, 7:59 pm:

  13. March 31, 2021, 9:12 pm:

  14. April 1, 2021, 7:48 pm:

    • There is a new blog post entitled, “Having trouble getting an Uber? Think about how you’ve been treating your drivers.

    • There is news on my car and it is, overall, much better than expected:

      1. The bad news is that, yet again, they are unable to reproduce the problem. They see a code in the history, so they know it threw one.

      2. The last time this happened, there were three possible causes, so I had them repair the cheapest, on the idea of beginning a process of elimination. Now, there are only two.

      3. It turns out that both remaining possible causes are far cheaper to repair than I had earlier been told. I don’t know why the difference but that’s what they’re telling me today. I’ve told them to proceed with both. Because it’d be nice to kill this problem once and for all, particularly if, as I’m expecting to do early next year, I’m going to drive this car across country and back. I’m expecting the car back tomorrow.

      But the plan to rent a car for Uber and Lyft—much as I hate this gig bullshit, I still have no alternative—remains problematic. It doesn’t appear possible to do it through Avis online. And calling in, I just got the runaround.


Burma

source on threadreaderapp.com

Archived at 2021-03-28 08:15:29

Thread Reader

Dr. Betina Hsieh 謝原真 Profile picture

Dr. Betina Hsieh 謝原真

Follow @ProfHsieh

27 Mar, 8 tweets, 3 min read

Update: I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a message from my sister. As expected, it’s been absolutely brutal. They shot into her house. And are in her street. The military is shooting randomly at any sign of life, trying to scare people into the streets 1/

In the streets, they will be arrested, shot or killed. My sister said someone in her neighborhood was killed and two of her friends were arrested. She is still safe but they are lying on the floor to avoid being seen because the military is still outside in the street. 😢 2/

As of a couple of hours ago over 150 have died just today. I’m sure it’s more now. Please continue to pray for her and her mom, the people and the country as they undergo this terrible violence and humanitarian crisis. 3/

For now, the military has left her street but they warned that they will be back at midnight. At that point, the Internet will be cut off and she won’t be able to give me updates. They have prepared for an emergency as they fear the military will go house-by-house shooting. 4/

They cannot leave the house as the military has said that anyone in the streets between 7pm and 5am will be shot. Their only option is to stay at home with the door locked & hope for the best, listening outside for when the military leaves. 5/

This article provides some analysis of the diplomatic complexities at play: bbc.com/news/amp/world… 6/

My heart is for my family and the #Burmese people. We and they need your prayers and there needs to be international pressure to stop the continuing human rights violations in #Burma #Myanmar This is not an internal affair. #March27Coup

Another article on the “Day of Shame” and the mass killings by the military. The number of dead is in unverified and likely underreported, given what my sister is saying about how they are collecting the bodies of victims: aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/27… 7/

Betina Hsieh, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, March 27, 2021, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1375795649732431874.html


Gun nuttery

Tim Elfrink, “Lindsey Graham says he needs AR-15 for defense: ‘My house will be the last one that the gang will come to,’” Washington Post, March 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/03/29/lindsey-graham-ar15-defense-disaster/


Pandemic

Natalie Grover, “New Covid vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists,” Guardian, March 29, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/new-covid-vaccines-needed-within-year-say-scientists

Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg asks court to allow maskless customers in restaurant,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/lifestyles/food-drink/crackd-egg-asks-court-to-allow-maskless-customers-in-restaurant/

Julie Steenhuysen, “T cells induced by COVID-19 infection respond to new virus variants: U.S. study,” Reuters, March 30, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-variants-idUSKBN2BM3BZ

Laurel Wamsley, “Florida Gov. DeSantis Rejects Vaccine Passports As ‘Completely Unacceptable,’” National Public Radio, March 30, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/30/982837517/florida-gov-desantis-rejects-vaccine-passports-as-completely-unacceptable


Yes, I’m throwing a tantrum. I woke up this morning (March 28, 2021) to find my rating on Uber had dropped to 4.87 though Uber still labels me as having “high ratings.” I have to assume the decline is due to my sign (figure 1).

Fig. 1. Sign for Uber and Lyft passengers made by author, March 25, 2021.

It is apparent to me that telling people they shouldn’t hate on each other and themselves is the cause. You will notice that, in the second and most recently added bullet point, I do not specify the terms I object to. But it is also clear that people understand that they shouldn’t drop the n-word or ‘bitch’ or ‘ho’ in my car, because I’ve hardly heard those words since putting this version up. I am flabbergasted.

In terms of employment and the quest for employment, I have borne nothing but insult for five long years since earning my Ph.D. and twenty years since the dot-com crash (my only respite was in academia). I have reached the limits of my tolerance, not only for the bullshit I tolerate with Uber and Lyft, but with low wage work in general.[21] No human should have to tolerate this.

I have to have a way out. Now. No more bullshit. No more excuses. I want, need, and must have a real job,[22] as should be utterly uncontroversial:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:

    (a) Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:

      (i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;

      (ii) A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;

    (b) Safe and healthy working conditions;

    (c) Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;

    (d ) Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays[23]

And if I don’t get it, I don’t know what happens, but it won’t be good.

Because this bullshit has to end. There are limits to my endurance. I have retreated and I have compromised as far as I can. I have gone as far as I can go, and I can go no further, tolerate no more.

And if you think I’m being unreasonable, sorry, but that says a helluva lot more about you than it does me.


  1. [1]Tim Elfrink, “Lindsey Graham says he needs AR-15 for defense: ‘My house will be the last one that the gang will come to,’” Washington Post, March 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/03/29/lindsey-graham-ar15-defense-disaster/
  2. [2]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg asks court to allow maskless customers in restaurant,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/lifestyles/food-drink/crackd-egg-asks-court-to-allow-maskless-customers-in-restaurant/
  3. [3]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg flouts shutdown as deputies quarantined for dining, taking photos with owner,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-flouts-shutdown-as-deputies-quarantined-for-dining-taking-photos-with-owner/
  4. [4]Paula Reed Ward, “Allegheny County argues Crack’d Egg can’t hide from covid restrictions under bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 5, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/allegheny-county-argues-crackd-egg-cant-hide-from-covid-restrictions-under-bankruptcy-filing/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge rules against Crack’d Egg, health department case can proceed,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-rules-against-crackd-egg-health-department-case-can-proceed/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge to rule on Crack’d Egg restaurant closure order next week,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-to-rule-on-crackd-egg-restaurant-closure-order-next-week/; Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg restaurant asks to withdraw bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-restaurant-asks-to-withdraw-bankruptcy-filing/
  5. [5]Paul Martino, “After Defying Health Department, Crack’d Egg Follows Judge’s Ruling And Closes,” KDKA Television, February 4, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/04/crackd-egg-closes/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge orders Crack’d Egg to follow covid rules or close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-orders-crackd-egg-to-follow-covid-rules-or-close/
  6. [6]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg seeks stay to injunction while appeal is heard,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 8, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-seeks-stay-to-injunction-while-appeal-is-heard/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge rules against Crack’d Egg restaurant: ‘They’ve largely chosen their fate here,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 17, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-rules-against-crackd-egg-restaurant-theyve-largely-chosen-their-fate-here/
  7. [7]Christopher Rowland, Emily Rauhala, and Miriam Berger, “Drug companies defend vaccine monopolies in face of global outcry,” Washington Post, March 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/03/20/covid-vaccine-global-shortages/
  8. [8]Natalie Grover, “New Covid vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists,” Guardian, March 29, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/new-covid-vaccines-needed-within-year-say-scientists
  9. [9]April Dembosky, “It’s not Tuskegee. Current medical racism fuels Black Americans’ vaccine hesitancy,” Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2021-03-25/current-medical-racism-not-tuskegee-expls-vaccine-hesitancy-among-black-americans; Elizabeth Dwoskin, “Facebook steps up campaign to ban false information about coronavirus vaccines,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/12/03/facebook-covid-vaccine/; Benjamin Wallace-Wells, “The Vaccine Resisters,” New Yorker, March 5, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-populism/the-vaccine-resisters; Hannah Wiley, “‘No masks. No vaccines.’ Battle is brewing over coronavirus immunizations in California,” Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article243381501.html
  10. [10]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “On the alleged ‘efficiency’ of capitalism,” Not Housebroken, March 4, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/03/04/on-the-alleged-efficiency-of-capitalism/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  13. [13]Natalie Grover, “New Covid vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists,” Guardian, March 29, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/new-covid-vaccines-needed-within-year-say-scientists
  14. [14]Julie Steenhuysen, “T cells induced by COVID-19 infection respond to new virus variants: U.S. study,” Reuters, March 30, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-variants-idUSKBN2BM3BZ
  15. [15]Melissa Healy, “California’s coronavirus strain looks increasingly dangerous: ‘The devil is already here,’” Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2021-02-23/california-homegrown-coronavirus-strain-looks-increasingly-transmissible-and-dangerous
  16. [16]Julie Steenhuysen, “T cells induced by COVID-19 infection respond to new virus variants: U.S. study,” Reuters, March 30, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-variants-idUSKBN2BM3BZ
  17. [17]Natalie Grover, “New Covid vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists,” Guardian, March 29, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/new-covid-vaccines-needed-within-year-say-scientists
  18. [18]April Dembosky, “It’s not Tuskegee. Current medical racism fuels Black Americans’ vaccine hesitancy,” Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2021-03-25/current-medical-racism-not-tuskegee-expls-vaccine-hesitancy-among-black-americans; Elizabeth Dwoskin, “Facebook steps up campaign to ban false information about coronavirus vaccines,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/12/03/facebook-covid-vaccine/; Benjamin Wallace-Wells, “The Vaccine Resisters,” New Yorker, March 5, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-populism/the-vaccine-resisters; Hannah Wiley, “‘No masks. No vaccines.’ Battle is brewing over coronavirus immunizations in California,” Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article243381501.html
  19. [19]Natalie Grover, “New Covid vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists,” Guardian, March 29, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/new-covid-vaccines-needed-within-year-say-scientists; Christopher Rowland, Emily Rauhala, and Miriam Berger, “Drug companies defend vaccine monopolies in face of global outcry,” Washington Post, March 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/03/20/covid-vaccine-global-shortages/
  20. [20]Laurel Wamsley, “Florida Gov. DeSantis Rejects Vaccine Passports As ‘Completely Unacceptable,’” National Public Radio, March 30, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/30/982837517/florida-gov-desantis-rejects-vaccine-passports-as-completely-unacceptable
  21. [21]David Benfell, “Time for the gig economy to grow up,” Not Housebroken, August 30, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/30/time-for-the-gig-economy-to-grow-up/; David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/; David Benfell, “A piper needs paying,” Not Housebroken, January 29, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/19/a-piper-needs-paying/; Johana Bhuiyan, “Amazon ends practice of dipping into drivers’ tips to meet their wage guarantees,” Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2019-08-22/amazon-flex-fares-tips; Jessa Crispin, “Amazon is a disaster for workers. Nomadland glosses over that,” Guardian, March 23, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/23/amazon-nomadland-film-jeff-bezos-disaster-workers; Daniel D’Addario, “Amazon is worse than Walmart,” Salon, July 30, 2013, https://www.salon.com/control/2013/07/30/how_amazon_is_worse_than_wal_mart/; Timothy Egan, “The Corporate Daddy,” New York Times, June 19, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/20/opinion/timothy-egan-walmart-starbucks-and-the-fight-against-inequality.html; Josh Eidelson, “Wal-Mart faces warehouse horror allegations and federal Labor Board complaint,” Salon, November 19, 2013, https://www.salon.com/test/2013/11/18/breaking_wal_mart_faces_warehouse_horror_allegations_and_federal_labor_board_complaint/; Josh Eidelson, “Tens of thousands protest, over 100 arrested in Black Friday challenge to Wal-Mart,” Salon, November 30, 2013, https://www.salon.com/test/2013/11/30/tens_of_thousands_protest_over_100_arrested_in_black_friday_challenge_to_wal_mart/; Josh Eidelson, “Finally paying for Wal-Mart’s sins: Wage theft settlement yields millions,” Salon, December 16, 2013, https://www.salon.com/test/2013/12/16/finally_paying_for_wal_marts_sins_wage_theft_settlement_yields_millions/; Josh Eidelson, “Freezing for Wal-Mart: Sub-zero warehouse temperatures spur Indiana work stoppage,” Salon, January 14, 2014, https://www.salon.com/test/2014/01/13/freezing_for_wal_mart_sub_zero_warehouse_temperatures_spur_indiana_work_stoppage/; Josh Eidelson, “Amazon Keeps Unions Out By Keeping Workers in Fear, Says Organizer,” Alternet, January 22, 2014, https://www.alternet.org/2014/01/amazon-keeps-unions-out-keeping-workers-fear-says-organizer/; Nichole Gracely, “‘Being homeless is better than working for Amazon,’” Guardian, November 28, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/28/being-homeless-is-better-than-working-for-amazon; Steven Greenhouse, “The Changing Face of Temporary Employment,” New York Times, August 31, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/upshot/the-changing-face-of-temporary-employment.html; Erin Hatton, “The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy,” New York Times, January 26, 2013, http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/the-rise-of-the-permanent-temp-economy/; Simon Head, “Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers,” Salon, February 23, 2014, https://www.salon.com/control/2014/02/23/worse_than_wal_mart_amazons_sick_brutality_and_secret_history_of_ruthlessly_intimidating_workers/; Paul Jaskunas, “The Tyranny of the Forced Smile,” New York Times, February 14, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/jobs/the-tyranny-of-the-forced-smile.html; Allison Kilkenny, “Ohio Walmart Holds Food Drive For Its Own Employees,” Nation, November 18, 2013, https://www.thenation.com/article/ohio-walmart-holds-food-drive-its-own-employees/; Ken Klippenstein, “Documents Show Amazon Is Aware Drivers Pee in Bottles and Even Defecate En Route, Despite Company Denial,” Intercept, March 25, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/03/25/amazon-drivers-pee-bottles-union/; Paul Krugman, “The Plight of the Employed,” New York Times, December 24, 2013, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/24/the-plight-of-the-employed/; Paul Krugman, “The Fear Economy,” New York Times, December 26, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/27/opinion/krugman-the-fear-economy.html; Danielle Kurtzleben, “Read McDonald’s workers’ shocking harassment and discrimination complaints — and why they’re so important,” Vox, January 22, 2015, https://www.vox.com/2015/1/22/7873661/mcdonalds-lawsuit-harassment-discrimination; Colin Lecher, “How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity,’” Verge, April 25, 2019, https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516004/amazon-warehouse-fulfillment-centers-productivity-firing-terminations; Edward McClelland, “You call this a middle class? “I’m trying not to lose my house,’” Salon, March 1, 2014, https://www.salon.com/test/2014/03/01/you_call_this_a_middle_class_i%E2%80%99m_trying_not_to_lose_my_house/; Mac McClelland, “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave,” Mother Jones, March/April 2012, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor/; Patrick McGreevy and Suhauna Hussain, “California demands that Amazon comply with COVID-19 investigation,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-12-14/california-lawsuit-amazon-workplace-conditions-covid-19; Nathaniel Mott, “From Amazon warehouse workers to Google bus drivers, it’s tough working a non-tech job at a tech company,” Pando, October 9, 2014, https://pando.com/2014/10/09/from-amazon-warehouse-workers-to-google-bus-drivers-its-tough-working-a-non-tech-job-at-a-tech-company/; Ari Rabin-Havt, “Wal-Mart flunks its fact-check: The truth behind its sarcastic response to the Times,” Salon, June 25, 2014, https://www.salon.com/control/2014/06/25/walmart_flunks_its_fact_check_the_truth_behind_its_sarcastic_response_to_the_times/; José Rodríguez, Jr., “The Aftermath Of Prop 22 Is Not As Happy As Big Tech Promised,” Jalopnik, February 18, 2021, https://jalopnik.com/the-aftermath-of-prop-22-is-not-as-happy-as-big-tech-pr-1846299686; Lia Russell, “The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare,” New Republic, January 16, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156202/silicon-valley-economy-here-its-nightmare; Michael Sainato, “‘I’m not a robot’: Amazon workers condemn unsafe, grueling conditions at warehouse,” Guardian, February 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/05/amazon-workers-protest-unsafe-grueling-conditions-warehouse; Alexander Sammon, “Prop 22 Is Here, and It’s Already Worse Than Expected,” American Prospect, January 15, 2021, https://prospect.org/labor/prop-22-is-here-already-worse-than-expected-california-gig-workers/; Alex Seitz-Wald, “Amazon is everything wrong with our new economy,” Salon, July 30, 2013, https://www.salon.com/test/2013/07/30/amazon_is_everything_wrong_with_our_new_economy/; Alana Semuels, “As employers push efficiency, the daily grind wears down workers,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2013, https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-harsh-work-20130407-story.html; Alana Semuels, “How the relationship between employers and workers changed,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2013, https://www.latimes.com/business/la-xpm-2013-apr-07-la-fi-mo-harsh-work-history-20130405-story.html; Alana Semuels, “Tougher workplace makes home life worse too,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2013, https://www.latimes.com/business/la-xpm-2013-apr-07-la-fi-mo-harsh-work-history-20130405-story.html; Faiz Siddiqui and Andrew Van Dam, “As Uber avoided paying into unemployment, the federal government helped thousands of its drivers weather the pandemic,” Washington Post, March 16, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/03/16/uber-lyft-unemployment-benefits/; Spencer Soper, “Inside Amazon’s Warehouse,” Lehigh Valley Morning Call, September 18, 2011, https://www.mcall.com/business/mc-xpm-2011-09-18-mc-allentown-amazon-complaints-20110917-story.html; Matt Stieb, “Amazon Called Out for Denying Workers Go to Bathroom in Bottles,” New York, March 25, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/03/amazon-called-out-for-denying-that-workers-pee-in-bottles.html; Lindsay Wise, “Report: Temp jobs at all-time high in U.S.,” McClatchy, September 2, 2014, https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/economy/article24772543.html
  22. [22]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  23. [23]International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, December 16, 1966, United Nations, General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI), https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/cescr.aspx

Bernie Sanders effectively endorses Donald Trump’s reelection

Bernie Sanders

No matter how you dress this up, Joe Biden will almost certainly be massacred in November. Which seems to be just fine with the neoliberals who fought not so much to defeat Donald Trump but to maintain their hold on the Democratic Party so as to defend neoliberalism.[1] Bernie Sanders’ withdrawal[2] ensures that Trump will be re-elected and that neoliberals will maintain their stranglehold. The latter will likely quietly consider this a win-win.

Sean Sullivan and Chelsea Janes, “Bernie Sanders to end his presidential campaign,” Washington Post, April 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bernie-sanders-to-end-his-presidential-campaign/2020/03/18/cf7a1824-4d18-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html


Pandemic

Reis Thebault, Andrew Ba Tran, and Vanessa Williams, “The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/07/coronavirus-is-infecting-killing-black-americans-an-alarmingly-high-rate-post-analysis-shows/


Pacific Gas and Electric

J.D. Morris, “PG&E bankruptcy judge won’t approve attempt to halt fire victim votes,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 7, 2020, https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/PG-E-bankruptcy-judge-won-t-approve-attempt-to-15185776.php


  1. [1]David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/
  2. [2]Sean Sullivan and Chelsea Janes, “Bernie Sanders to end his presidential campaign,” Washington Post, April 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bernie-sanders-to-end-his-presidential-campaign/2020/03/18/cf7a1824-4d18-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html