“I Cares About Your Bag”

So here’s a little dialogue from this weekend in the Uber:
Rider: I love your shirt. Are you going to the after-hours club when you finish driving?
Me: I’m going to be the guy picking people up from the club.
How is your bag? Are you making the fat bag?
My bag is not so fat anymore since they cut the rates, but thanks for caring.
Hey man, you picked us up. That makes you part of our evening. I cares about your bag.

Much of what I love about driving is packed into this exchange. Yet for how much longer will this sentiment, this brotherhood of the app, hold true?   To summon a car with a flick of your thumb at any hour day or night, in minutes, to whisk you in any condition to any location in the county, no matter how remote, was a small urban miracle.  Gratitude was the order of the day.  For some, it remains so. But people with no living memory of taxis now consider Uber and Lyft to be an extension of their phone.  

In March both Uber and Lyft, operating as a duopoly, cut the mileage and base rate for LA area drivers 30%m without warning.  In the middle of a booming economy.   Mayor Garcetti, a man given to proclaiming on all Liberal Issues Under the Sun, uttered nary a peep, though he did put in a celebratory appearance at a Lyft IPO event.

Let’s unpack this.  The largest employer in LA (it’s not even close) is rideshare.  Most are side hustlers like myself. Imagine if Ford and GM announced a 30% UAW pay cut amidst record car sales. Would politicians in Detroit say nothing?  At what point would silence be considered assent?

What if GM and Ford began running ads on the radio, buying billboards, soliciting new workers at the new low rates…and as an inducement, leased them the tools?  What if they targeted non-citizens for recruitment?

You might start making a list in your head as to who really cares about your bag.

A Whole Lotta Fa

Three questions. When in history have mobs wearing masks and hoods beating on defenseless people ever stood on the side of righteousness?   If one is against fascism, why are your team colors red and black?  If what you’re doing is legit, why the mask?

The level of physical aggression evinced by the Antifa brigades of Portland and elsewhere is remarkable only by its cowardice.   Cold-cocking people when their back is turned. Pepper-spraying from two feet away while the recipient is busy fending off other harassers. Tossing concrete milkshakes in peoples faces.  Tripping, spitting on, kicking people on the way down.  A tire iron upside the head, while the victim is bending over to assist a woman.

Always from the weak side.  Only from the safety of overwhelming numerical superiority.

Would any of these people behave this way mano a mano, or more tellingly, on neutral ground?  Would they try it in Texas?

Portland is now the mirror image of Birmingham, Alabama 1963, only creepier.  Lawless mobs execute political violence in the street in open view of police, who allow them to act with impunity, in accordance with directives from city officials. The targeted beating of journalist Andy Ngo this weekend for reporting fearlessly (and alone) on Antifa has revealed a will to power on the Left distinguished by joyful sadism: Everyone to the right of us is fascist.  We should punch fascists preemptively. They should have no freedom of assembly, nor of speech. Milkshake them all. 

Our very woke media is tacitly endorsing this notion that those who voted for Trump forfeit civil rights, including the right to enjoy a meal peaceably at a restaurant.  A nation in which vigilanteism is licensed for the anointed is not one which will hold together.

My Valley is brown. My Valley is gay. My Los Angeles is very liberal. Brown and gay are always welcome at my table. Twenty years as a citizen of Los Angeles has scourged me of my liberal impulses.  I am a man heterodox in his views.  Somehow I get through my day without the urge to beat on people, although I do talk at the TV from time to time, refining other people’s arguments, basking in the unimpeded glory of my own.

The Portland-ization of Los Angeles has remained south of Ventura Blvd, for now, and for this I am grateful, but it will not last.  Even Van Nuys will be made to choose.  The world may not like our answer.  We know Fa when we see it.

*photo credit Wall Street Journal, YouTube