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Don’t Be A Political Pansy…on Election Day.

The tag line I use to promote my book is “Don’t be a Political Pansy!” That is tongue-in-cheek advertising, and as much a joke as it is a challenge. But there really is a breed of political pansy out there.

I normally serve up red meat on this site. There is so much we can devour! And I am serving up plenty of it elsewhere. But right now I am talking to EVERYONE. I may be preaching to the choir though. It is likely that the people this is directed at won’t see it because, well…they are the people it is directed at, political pansies.

Who are these pansies? These are the people on both side of the political spectrum who harp endlessly on how screwed up everything is. They call names on Facebook and sit in the break room at work looking down their noses at politicians and the people that vote for them. But in reality they are too lazy and insincere to actually go out and make their own noise in a way that is constructive.

 These pansies have a laundry list of reasons to not fulfill their civic duty and vote. But my favorite is, “Why bother? It never changes. They’re all the same.”

These pansies already know the answer to their own question. Things remain as they are because too many people say, “Why bother? It never changes.” By being that guy, you hand the worst of our politicians the advantage of incumbency and the comfort of knowing that not enough of the electorate is awake enough to impact their political ambitions.

You have to trust me on this: If the political class woke up on Wednesday morning to find out 90% of the population voted (the results would be wildly out of sinc with what the talking heads are saying now) they would piss their pants! And rightly so. It would mean that they would have to start performing. They would have to shitcan their poll tested garbage and really try to make a difference. They would realize that all the special interest cronyism won’t protect them from US!

And damn! Look how easy they have made voting! You can vote online, vote mail-in (used to be called absentee, and you can vote early. I have made my concrete concerns for these stupid ideas known in my book and here.

Despite those misgivings, how much easier do you need it to be before you participate and drop the phony self-importance about how the man will keep you down no matter what crap?

HOW IT OUGHT TO BE

I was talking to my buddy Bob D. on Facebook the other day. We were in disagreement about a particular get-out-the-vote campaign. But on one point, I don’t believe there was a spark of light between us.

I said that Election Day should be a bank holiday. Forget early voting or online or mail-in garbage. Only real cases should vote absentee. On election day, we should all gather and celebrate the day and the franchise, win or lose. Voting is at least as important as the Fourth of July! It’s way more important than Labor Day. There should be Election Day parties. No one allowed in without an updated “I voted” sticker. These parties should not be mandated by law, of course, but it would be an original party theme. On this day, even as the returns are still being counted, we are all one again. We all did our civic thing and now we are enjoying just being Americans.

Tomorrow, it all starts again. But today, no rancor or discord would be of any use to anyone. Pass the beer and the brats! 

But what am I saying? [snide whiney voice] No one would ever do that. It’ll never change. Right?

To this I would respond with a slightly non-contextual quote from Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1977: There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” At the time, that was the prevailing wisdom.  It would last less than 5 years.  Of course we would need a center of influence bigger than my brilliant self to make Election Day a holiday.

And what the hell, it would give Hallmark a reason to jack us up for a whole new set of greeting cards.

 

Don’t be a political pansy! Read Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.
Let’s demand good governance!

Kindle version here!

Or just start reading for free on Kindle Unlimited!

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Ford vs Kavanaugh: #I Don’t Believe Her!

When you don’t have an argument…

…have a contrived scandal in your pocket ready to spring on your opponent.  There is no honor in it, but you might just get the worthless win anyway.  When you are without scruples taking the highroad has no appeal.

Bottom Line Up Front. I have looked at the Ford vs Kavanaugh story and I don’t believe her. Set aside the American imperative that one is innocent until proven guilty (progressives are already snickering behind their hands at that), her story just reeks of progressive emotionalism right out of the gate.

There are politicians out there already selling her tale vigorously. But they don’t believe it any more than I do. They just find a delusional dupe like Ford an easy ride to derail a Supreme Court nominee.

There are rank and file progressives that sincerely believe Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. But they are credulous, emotion-adled drones already programmed to believe it. No one else, who has read the particulars, available so far, actually believes her. Too much of it makes no sense. The nonsense is so pervasive that to judge her story to be an intentional lie is not being terribly unfair.

And the 11th hour sex scandal from the left is now almost guaranteed whenever they are losing.  They are counting on your credulity to keep using it, no matter how vapid the storylines.

But let’s stipulate to some of her story just to TRY and give her that much credit.

Related post: Sexual Counterfieters IF NOTHING ELSE, READ THE LAST LINE!

The Party

In the early ‘80s, Ford attended a party with other teenagers. It was at the house of someone she does not know and she has no recollection of how she came to know of the party.

[loud gameshow buzzer]

There’s the first red flag. If, in our teens years, a friend invited us to a party at his house and we went there and nothing of note happened, we’d likely forget the details and probably even the party. BUT, if we are part of a group that goes to a strange house and crashes, or we are part of a group that HEARD about a party at a stranger’s house and followed the crowd there, we remember that. We just do. To say other is a lie, unless you make a habit of traipsing off to strange houses, uninvited, to raise hell as a matter of course. Is that how Doctor Ford lived as a teen/young adult?

Add to that, we had an experience at this strange place from which we came away saying, “he might have inadvertently killed me.”

Now that is a party we will always remember. ALWAYS!   (I’ll deal with the repressed memory bullshit in a moment.) If we really did come away regretting the night – and this is human nature – we would  torture ourselves with mental tapes playing over and over in our heads about what happen

Kavanaugh. Source: Brietbart

ed, how we might have avoided it and how we came to be in such a situation to begin with. We would be as embarrassed at our own stupidity as we might be angry at how we were treated.

If there ever was such a party, Ford remembers it in vivid detail and in color.

But…so, okay, there was this party.

 Again, this was the early ‘80s. So what possessed Ford to retire from the group to go to a bedroom with two apparently drunk teenage males? I am going to go out on a limb and make some broad assumptions*. I suspect she wasn’t required to wear a burka as a child. She wasn’t a child of the 18th century, raised by her recluse uncle who was a parson of a small rural church. And she wasn’t raised in a convent. So one can safely assume the teenage girl knew what all drunk, male teenagers want. We’re talking about the 1980’s. Not the 1780’s. So why did she go into this room where she was supposedly molested? I can hear the emotionalist moaning already: [whiney voice] Your blaming the victim! No, I don’t believe she ever was a victim. Her story, as we will see, holds little merit. I am asking a simple question. Why go to the bedroom?

His first reaction? The “offender’s” resume!

Fast-forward to 2012. We have Ford and hubby in a therapy session, as the story goes. By some machination – this therapy session must have been a humdinger – Ford is induced to retrieve a “repressed memory”. Wow!

She tells her therapist and hubby that she was molested at a party as a teenager. She relays, by her own and her husbands accounts, the last names only of the boys involved. And what is hubby’s immediate reaction? Again, by his own account, he thinks hmmm, Kavanagh (no first name). He sits on the DC Circuit court, he could be a Supreme Court Justice someday.

 Now here is how a real husband would react. “Kavanaugh?! Who Kavanaugh? Are you talking about that judge? Brett? Did that mother f*#@er hurt you!? I’ll kill him! I’ll f*#@ing kill him.” A real husband would have to be restrained. I might need an injection from the good doctor.

There is so much wrong with how they speak of the husband’s reaction, I could write a book about it. But I will stick to the basics here.

To the ladies: Would you stay married to a man who, when confronted with you being sexually assaulted, first reacts by wondering if the attacker might make it to the Supremes some day?

To all: How many people, who are not over-the-top political wonks, even know the names of the members of the DC Circuit court? Of those how many actually think DC Circuit and then Supreme Court, concurrently, when there is not a compatible seat open? The answer is NO ONE to both questions.

That is an utterly insincere or sociopathic response. The only reason it was inserted into their story was to give the smear job context. So you can call them liars, meaning they are politically fanatical to the point of ruining another person’s life to score a win. Or you can believe them in which case you acknowledge their weakness and stupidity.

And what of that DC Circuit Court thing? They decide, as a couple we must assume, that he should go on handing down decisions from his bench, for the rest of his life, affecting the lives of countless people.  This explosive information about Kavanaugh being a sexual predator should be kept secret. That’s okay to do. But then, oh no! – He’s about to be confirmed to the Supreme Court! Quick, dash off an anonymous letter to Diane Feinstein, tell her not to use it and get a polygraph test so we never have to come forward with what we know!

 Yeeeeeeeah, that is precisely the behavior of anyone who wishes not to gain notice. RIGHT!

Nothing says immature and emotionalist like a stupid hat.  This is not Christine Blasey-Ford. It is not known if Ford owns a giant vagina costume.

About the whole anonymity, non-political thing: We are dealing with a very political couple. They are heavily involved with groups who are rather loud with their dislike of conservatives and Donald Trump (the two are not synonymous). And our good Doctor Ford is a loud and proud owner of a “pussy hat” (their adolescent term, not mine). People who attend rallies wearing a pussy hat are not averse to notoriety, conflict or emotionalism. Ford is all the way down with being a part of the narrative. But she was most likely told not to look too enthusiastic.

The polygraph is being touted as proof of her truthfulness. There are reasons polygraphs are not permitted in courtrooms as evidence. They are not, as the misnomer would indicate, lie detectors. Let me give you a for-instance.

 

Let’s say my wife gets home from a day of shopping and I have been watching porn and tagging the whiskey all day. When she walks in and says, “what have you been doing all day?” I am going to have a physical reaction. I will blush, my pulse will go up, my breathing will change and I’ll blurt out something like, “RESEARCH!” If I was wired up, a polygraph would go off the charts.

source: Slate.com 

But, if I was smart, knew the question was coming and had 2500 words of an old draft handy, I could just point to that and say “Just writing.” In my confidence I wouldn’t twitch a needle. That is the value of Ford’s polygraph. If her story is basically true, she was attacked by ANYONE, in this case Kavanaugh, she did herself and women everywhere a disservice by doing nothing about it. The gap of time is enough to shed legitimate doubt. But she’d pass a polygraph.

If she is lying, but has her story straight with hubby, her lawyer and likely Feinstein’s staff, she has no reason to stress when she answers direct polygraph questions. She still passes. She lies, but the machine can’t see it.

But why did she already sit for one? Remember, she had no intentions of coming forward. She wanted to remain anonymous. But she sought and sat for a polygraph? For what, to hang  the tape next to her Christmas stocking?  When you are out to ruin someone’s life and pretend to want anonymity, you wait for the first challenge THEN you take the polygraph.  You don’t say I wish to remain anonymous and here’s my polygraph results.  Because people will suspect you are lying…and for good reason.

And of course, there are the biggest questions. Why did she ever write the letter and why did she not write it when Kavanaugh was an up-and-comer?  She could have prevented the potential rapist and possible killer from sitting on a court bench or advising presidents!

I said I’d deal with repressed memory, didn’t I?

This, in my humble opinion, is mostly psychotherapy hogwash. There have been cases where people have actually blanked things out of their own minds. But in such RARE cases you might find these people were traumatized far beyond anything Ford describes as occurring at this party. We are talking about unspeakable trauma or abuse that would make any of us shudder. If this woman was so traumatized by a drunk teenager trying to get in her knickers, only to see him knocked off of her because his buddy was horse playing, then she likely has far more serious issues with abuse that have nothing to do with that party. But we may never really know.

Truth will not be served next Monday in the Senate Committee hearing. The Democrats will be busy demonizing Kavanaugh and coaching Ford with their questions and comments. There will be a lot of “she is woman, hear her roar” crap. The Republicans will be outdoing each other with how obsequious they can be toward Ford. No one will ask real questions because, as the press has already cautioned the GOP, you can’t pick on her because she is just a girl.

Yeah, I can’t rectify it either.

But no one will be interested in the truth.

As shameless as that all is, it matters little in terms of the accusations. A Senate circus is no place to settle this kinds of thing.  It should have been aired in a courtroom a long time ago. But the true goal of ALL OF THIS may be realized. A man with an amazing legal resume may have his life ruined and a conservative may be denied a seat on the SC.

That trumps everything – even the truth. It is even more important to score a single political victory than to care how real victims of sexual assault will be received in the future.

 

Don’t be a political pansy! Read Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.
Let’s demand good governance!

Kindle version here!

Or just start reading for free on Kindle Unlimited!

Photo credits:
Photo Credit: DeGust Flickr via Compfight cc

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vanity Fair Ought To Be More Careful

One of my future books is going to deal with just how wrong so many people can be about so many things. The reasons for such wrong-headedness are simple: One is immature on unprofessional writers, either out of ignorance or agenda, splashing stupid all over the web. The second is that we, as information consumers, tend bite into information in small chunks and swallow it all without questioning anything (especially if it validates our own misconceptions – confirmation bias). A glaring example of an agenda-laden package of stupid delivered to the world came from a Vanity Fair HIVE article in the September 2018 issue by Susan Fowler.

 

Right out of the gate, I am forced to set aside my incredulity if I am to believe her unofficial poll numbers about how many gig workers you’ll see at any given moment in San Francisco.

 

A gig worker is someone who works as an independent, performing app-driven or limited, self-driven functions. Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, etc. are examples. But there are others.

 

Bloody hell! If her outlandish numbers regarding how many gig workers there are in SF, all buzzing about on their assigned errands are true, then her city is an Uber-Valhalla! Forgive the pun, but I’d have liked to have experienced that utopia as a gig worker.

 

 

But like almost all information you’ll receive when motivated by a crusade or simple self-righteousness, the numbers in Susan Fowler’s article require a mystic suspension of disbelief.

 

Here are some real stats gathered from sources like Forbes, US News, Pew and others.

 

34% of the workforce fall into the category that some very loosely define as gig worker. This definition includes people who work 2nd jobs or work freelance. An example of the latter might be a really good-looking author/furniture maker who lives in Vancleave, Mississippi, whose initials are Matt Jordan.

But that is not the type of work the article refers to. Nor does the previous paragraph fit what most people define as gig work. Can my writing be considered gig work? Meh. Some would say yes, but I have only ever written one article based on a request. So I say no.

 

24% of the work force does report that they have received payment for work performed for an app-based service. Now we may be talking Uber or Wegolook, etc. But we would also be talking about affiliate marketers and gig writers, Fivvers who don’t run the streets in pursuit of the next gig. Further, that 24% includes many people who already have jobs and are only doing gig work part time. You won’t see the majority of these people flitting about the streets of San Francisco during the business day.

 

So, eight out of ten random passers-by, as Fowler states, being clearly in her line of sight, in pursuit of an app-based occupation is exceedingly difficult to believe. But perhaps she just happened to be counting on the exact date and time when an almost impossible number of gigsters just happened to collide on the same street corner. Perhaps two Lyfts and an Uber wait for riders, a Postmate glides by on a bicycle while three Grubhubs are delivering to nearby buildings. Meanwhile a Wegolook guy is measuring dents on a Prius with an “I’m with Her” bumper sticker on it (hey, this is San Francisco Vanity Fair is talking about). But when Fowler writes “eight out of every ten” it implies she sat and counted to ten several times and spotted dozens of gigsters. 80% of her total! Stephen Glass suddenly leaps to mind.  Vanity Fair ought to be more careful, even with “opinion” pieces. [emphasis mine]

 

San Francicso is populated enough to represent a fair cross-section of the population. When you only have 24% of the population being paid by the gig and at that, many working after business hours, and most of them not doing it in public, you have a very small number of people to count at any given moment.

 

But all that is prologue. It’s the meat of the article that offends the intelligence in more subtle ways. Take the time to consider what Fowler is trying to say (and not to say).

 

A quote (with my comments). “The gig-economy ecosystem (just “economy” will do – “ecosystem” adds a layer of bullshit and tips your hand right out of the gate) was supposed to represent the Promised Land, striking a harmonious egalitarian (PLEASE!) balance between supply and demand.”

 

The article is loaded with emotionalist tripe like this. But lets start here.

 

  1. These are just apps. Yes, even I have used the term gig-economy. But there is nothing magical about it.
  2. “Promised land?” “Harmonious egalitarian balance?” Seriously? Did an adult write this? Sweetie (Ms. Fowler), there is no such thing in the conduct of commerce as harmony and egalitarianism. Commerce is by its very nature competitive and cyclical. I sell you my widget for as much as I think you are willing to spend. You decide you want the widget more than the money you hold in your hand. If there are competing widget companies out there, I have to price my stuff to outperform the others. But you can shop more judiciously. So there is no balance. There are only cycles that reward or punish the buyers and the sellers. If supply and demand were balanced (and we pretended to be “egalitarian” – none of us are) we would all pay the same amount for everything. Wow! A pig just flew over my house!

 

Here’s another gem. From the start, it is clear Fowler is on a crusade. First she talks about the billions Uber, Lyft and Instacart are worth (rich people implies bad in the context of the article). She then talks about “- A class of workers who aren’t protected by labor laws, or eligible for benefits provided to the rest of the nation’s workforce – “.

 

It would almost move you to tears, if you were utterly ignorant of how the world works.

 

In response, we’ll stick to Uber drivers. Uber is the big gig on the streets.

 

These drivers are 1099, self-employed people. It is rare that a 1099 worker would be eligible for most of what an actual W-2 employee would be.

 

For example, a 1099 worker is not obligated to work in an inherently unsafe environment. So if my builder, Kenny, refused hang from a rope to paint my house, no matter how funny that would be to watch, I can’t force him to do it. Other than those kinds of considerations, a 1099 service provider need only supply what he promises and to take care of his own benefits. THAT IS THE NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE WITH THEM! That is WHY they are 1099 and not W-2!

 

Here’s another doozy. Fowler quotes the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. They represent people who would not have jobs if not for a) BAD rich people and b) people on expense accounts that don’t care what transportation costs. And their constituent group, taxi and limo drivers, hates Uber as much as the buggy whip makers hated car makers.

 

Anyhoo, the commission, after stroking the stats as thoroughly as possible said that 85% of rideshare drivers earn less than $17.22 an hour.

 

Whoa! Stop the presses! Say What?! You mean to tell me that 85% of the drivers in New York sit like gargoyles waiting for that ping to come, then drive their cars from here to there, and they don’t get paid $17.22 to do it? They actually decide for themselves whether the amount they do get paid is worth schlepping around the city for?

 

I have two news flashes for Ms. Fowler. First the commission has no way of accounting for cash tips. In some markets, they are substantial. Second, when you sign up for Uber or Lyft, they promise no minimum (unless there is a special on for your first 30 rides only). What Uber does say is that nationally, their drivers can earn between $8.00 and $15.00 per hour.

 

So after the commission pencil whips their figures, the threshold for describing driver earnings is $17.22. I say WAY TO GO NEW YORK!  And to the drivers earning more, I compliment you on your ability to ferret out good money spots!

 

In Fowler’s piece there is mention of the Supreme Court of California ruling that Dynamex must pay its gig workers like full-time employees.

Big headline: California court rules against the laws of economics to the general detriment of most entrepreneurial individuals.

 

So what else is new? I read the weird standards they held must exist for an employee to be considered independent. By that standard countless lives can be ruined all in the interest of making sure no one gets ahead.

 

Now in fairness, in the case cited, Dynamex may be abusing the 1099 independent contractor rule. I don’t know. There are companies out there who say they are just an app-based service and gig workers work their own hours and are their own bosses. Then gigsters find out they are closely and personally managed and they must work the hours set for them. There are some that even have reporting requirements. This should be illegal, and it probably is. It is certainly a misrepresentation.

 

But Uber and Lyft certainly don’t fit that description. Drivers really do turn the app on when they want to work and turn it off when they want to stop. They have no minimums to meet. No one calls demanding an accounting of your time. No one chews you out for how you go about your business. If you are found to be unethical, you get canned. Perfect!

 

Fowler, who used to work for Uber as a software engineer, is now beating her breast in guilt at the Frankenstein she feels she helped create (a combination of an over-bloated sense of self-worth and drama queen syndrome). She said when she talked to drivers they claimed no matter how hard they worked they could only cover gas and maintenance on their vehicles and little else.

 

There is a technical term for anyone who would do that repeatedly. The term is SUCKER. I know from experience, in a very tough market that you are not going to get rich driving rideshare. BUT…if you are in a market where you are not making any money at it, why the hell would you continue to drive? My advise would be to network with other drivers and fix your problems, or quit. There are places in this world where there aren’t enough riders for Uber to be worthwhile. Only an idiot would repeatedly go out and spend six, eight or ten hours at time, away from home and relaxation, and not be able to collect a paycheck.

 

But one is left to wonder about which drivers Fowler was speaking to. Could it be her professional exposure was limited to complaints? That she never heard from the drivers who were actually killing it?

 

There is a lot more drivel, leading predictably to an obvious conclusion, notions like functions being broken down (as they are with gig work – making it so anyone can do them) into dehumanized pieces.

 

Well! Isn’t Susan just full of her socio-political self! What is a humanized task as opposed to a dehumanized one? How about cleaning a network engineer’s toilet or parking their car? Which is the humanized task? But yeah, we know where this is going.

 

When a group of Fowler’s low-level engineer bubbas were sitting around talking about how terrible their employers are, or how frightening the technology that feeds them has become, one person asks (you have to sigh here), “What can we do about it?”

 

The answer? You guessed it. Gig economy workers MUST unionize.

 

Rideshare drivers frequently see ringers come into their online groups waving the union banner. With the exception of a few people who don’t understand what is it they are doing as drivers or delivering food or measuring dents in cars, the ringers get laughed off the page.

 

Anyone who does 1099 work does so because either they wish to AUGMENT their income, or they wish to control more of their own time and effort. They reject the notion of a boss or a time clock. They will trade set effort for an agreed price – voluntarily. Any gig worker who claims to be abused by “the man” and still turns the app on tomorrow is an idiot.

 

So who will the union protect gigsters from, themselves? The app they are using? Their tool bag? Will a gig worker help widen his market reach by filing complaints against – who – the customer? Or would unions end up killing the golden goose, which is USUALLY the case.

 

Unions come with a truckload of time-wasting, overly complex work requirements. They also hide behind mountains of legal bullshit, required to maintain their very existence, which would cross the eyes of a hydra. How is the average Uber driver going to contend with that?

 

At the beginning of this piece I said people often buy off on stupid things because they read it in important places, like Vanity Fair. In Susan Fowler’s case, the story is drenched in frightening or dramatic drivel. If you don’t have time to digest it, you might even buy into it.

 

But it is thinking like hers that holds us back from realizing the full potential of what we can accomplish as persons, a company or an economy. And yes, this includes all the risks that come with any worthwhile endeavor.

 

So if you like having a rideshare ready to come pick you up and cheerfully take you wherever you want to go, at a great price, you might want to blow off Ms. Fowler’s heart tugger. People like her will ruin the concept.

 

Matt Jordan is an author, furniture maker and occasional gig worker living on the gulf coast.