Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Democrats should take on Multi-Level Marketing

I am nearing the end of my job hunt right now, I will be receiving a large dataset to train my algorithm on tomorrow, and if I do well today will be the last day I will be unemployed against my will for the last day in my life.

But, one thing which has gotten in the way in my networking has been network marketing scams. I have been contacted by Amway, Powur, and several others as well over the last year. They are very demanding, and because they are not upfront about what is going on, and how some of them convince you that you are starting a business, they can sometimes be overbearing in their methods. They force people to pay in money from the beginning, and most people never get money from the scam they are peddling.

On top o this, there business model is a pyramid scheme, plain and simple. They say they are not a pyramid scheme and say some bullshit when praying on people who are down on their luck, along with a lot of other untrue statements, but at the core of it, that is all they are, from the top to the bottom. They are illegal, and the FTC is supposed to regulate them, but Republican presidents have helped Amway expand, such as in 2005 to China (New York Times) as a condition to join the World Trade Organization. The Republican Party is peddling businesses which peddle business practices which are illegal in order for companies to join the WTO. It doesn't get much more corrupt than that.

Doing research on companies such as Amway is very, very difficult. If you try to look up connections between Amway and Obama the Internet is simply full of articles with Amway trying to convince you that Obama is in on it as well, that they are bipartisan. If you look a little deeper you will find a not-so-subtle hint  that President Obama is not in favor of Amway, with how he hid the logo with a giant American flag at the Amway center in Orlando, Florida. You don't hide the names of companies you are proud of.

That statement, you don't hide the name of companies you are proud of is very true and the opposite of what recruiters do. Once an MLM becomes well-known enough, they fill the Internet with bogus websites which try to make them look like legitimate businesses, they have people give them glowing reviews, when in reality they are just scamming people, and if you look up their name with a clear head you will realize they are the worst of the worst.

This has a deeper meaning for the Republican Party as a whole. The Bush family is tied to Amway, with W speaking at their ceremony in China in 2016, and HW spoke to them in Japan when he was President. Gerald R. Ford was at the founding of Amway. Donald Trump went so far as to hide the veil and appoint Betsy De Vos as Secretary of Education. The Amway corporation is as much a part of the Republican Party as the Koch Brothers. The De Vos Family has almost no connection to the Democratic Party.

Regardless of how many political donation they make to the Republican Party, what Amway is doing is illegal, and they need to be shut down and be forced to give every single dollar back to every single individual they have scammed. Once the Democratic Party comes back to power with a trifecta in 2021, which given Trump's approval rating is definitely a possibility, we need to fully prosecute them for their criminal actions to the fullest extent of the law. That is the job of the Court system, the Department of Justice, and the President.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A truly simple election system

Election day is coming up, and you have received your ballot in the mail. (I live in Washington State, everyone has mail in voting here) You open your ballot and you see the following list of candidates:
  1. Joe Schmo, (D, Centrist)
  2. Tom Bob, (D, Progressive)
  3. Grace Moon, (D, Progressive)
  4. Mary Polly, (D, libertarian leaning)
  5. Betsy Ford, (D, establishment)
  6. Jackie Ronald, (R, Trumpist)
  7. Andrew Todd, (R, establishment)
  8. George Adams, (R, Tea Party)
  9. Ronald John, (Libertarian)
  10. Nick Verde, (Green)
What are you to do? With 10 choices you need to decide how to vote. Let's assume you are a heavily leaning Democratic voter with progressive tendencies. There are three basic ways at the voter end this could look, in increasing simplicity:

1. First Past The Post, Top Two Primary
You simply vote for the candidate you like the most and you are done. Sounds reasonable, right? But wait... who is my neighbor voting for? Is this a fringe candidate? I live in a district with about 55% Democrats and 45% Republicans. If we all vote equally for these candidates of our leaning we will have 11% for each Democrat and If the Republicans fall in line between their three candidates each will receive 15%, which will mean that we will have two candidates who the majority of voters don't like. I'm going to make my best shot based on who my neighbor is voting for so at least one candidate of my party gets to the generic ballot. Hopefully I will be right.

First Past the Post, Voter Primary
I will cast my ballot for the candidate in my party I like the most. If I am not registered as a member of the party then I cannot vote however, so I might get disenfranchised. But since I live in a State with an open primary I am going to vote for the candidate I like most. But I am a Progressive, so we might end up with our ballot being split in two, yielding a moderate, who I could live with, but I would rather have someone who more represents my values. I will have to guess whether Tom or Grace will attract more voters.

Party List
I don't have a choice of which individual represents me. I'll vote for the Democrats nominate, and hope we get enough seats so at least one progressive gets into office and that they are high enough on the list.

Ranked Voting
It doesn't really matter what my neighbors or the party think of the candidates, my vote is mine and it will get reallocated if the candidate I choose is not the top pick, so my vote counts as long as I finish filling out my ballot. I will vote for Grace, Tom, Joe, Mary, Betsy, Nick. Ronald, Andrew, George, and then Jackie as my least favorite candidate. Great, I'm done and my vote will count no matter what.

Ranked voting is the easiest election system for voters to understand. You don't have to be strategic, you vote for whoever you think is best, and your vote will count no matter what.The thought process is simple, you only have to worry about your personal preference, it doesn't matter how your neighbor votes as long as you fill out your ballot your vote will count.

Also, congratulations Maine on maintaining Ranked voting. Hopefully another state will follow in your footsteps soon.

Role of government, after a conversation with one of my favorite conservatives

When talking about economics it is very interesting when talking to conservatives. I had a good conversation with my grandfather today, and he is of the impression that if the government will do it, it will be inefficient and bad, because they are taking my money, what benefit do I see? He also has a problem with government borrowing.

The way I see government spending is fairly moderate. I do not believe the government must be involved in every sector of the economy, but I do see them as having a very important role. I see a role for government regulation, to protect against fraud, abuse, and pollution, but I also do see a very important role for the free market and allowing people to innovate, because this is a major role for economic growth.

Our conversation was starting to get louder, which was unnecessary when I posed a question, if you can borrow at 2% interest and spend it in a way to get a 4% return, should you borrow the money? This got my grandfather to think and it makes sense, so I posed the proposal that when a government is deciding whether to change taxing, spending, and borrowing they need to consider the following:

  1. What will be the cost to the economy if we tax or borrow X amount of dollars?
  2. What will be the net benefit to the economy when we spend X amount of dollars?
The overall long-term impact to the economy of various taxing and spending proposals vary widely. Education, food stamps, and health care have very large benefits to the economy as a whole. Military tends to have a smaller multiplier at the level that America spends on our military. When deciding between all of these programs in an uber-utilitarian framework where your goal is to minimize externalities, increase GDP growth, and minimize inequality, in my political beliefs, there are a lot of different ideas which need to be considered in order to determine the proper course of action.

This means that the proper course of action for the economy depends on a wide variety of factors. I take a very Keynesian approach to economics myself, where the government should act as a counterweight to the economy as a whole.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

American democracy is strong

The fact that the President of the United States is being investigated by the FBI right now, after betraying our country and very probably working with a foreign state to undermine our democracy shows that our system works.  The fact that the Speaker of the House is not running for reelection with the writing on the wall saying he complicit the Republican party was in undermining our democracy shows that our system works.

There are issues with our system, the electoral college is a relic of slavery and African Americans are disproportionately targeted by our judicial system. But the fact that the president of the United States is being taken down by the FBI shows that our system is strong.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

More evidence points in the same direction

Today I was wondering about betting pools for various political issues, and at the top of the page for the 2020 Presidential election I saw this:
Disregarding my nerdy tabs and applications, Kamala Harris is currently projected as the most likely Democratic Nominee for the 2020 Presidential Election. #2 is long-time favorite of mine, Elizabeth Warren.

Unless if someone else comes out of nowhere in the next year, a Kamala Harris candidacy just looks more and more likely.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Potential candidates, 2020

Did a little research today... looking at Democratic Governors and Senators to predict who is the most likely to run in two years, I looked at Google Search Results for potential candidates who are under 65. I filtered out only relevant mention for politicians with common names. For twitter results I used the most followed account.

Top Google Search Results:
Tammy Baldwin: 1.7 million
Kamala Harris: 1.36 million
Joe Donnelly: 974,000

Top Twitter Followers:
Kamala Harris: 1.46 million,
Kirsten Gillibrand: 1.2 million
Tim Kaine: 973,000

Average of both:
Kamala Harris: 1.41 million
Tammy Baldwin: 901,750
Tim Kaine: 834,500
There is only one clear outlier in the Senate today. Her name is Kamala Harris. If you aren't already watching her, you need to start to. If she runs, she will win.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Americans with Disabilities Act is getting gutted

Remember when Nancy Pelosi presided over the gutting of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Neither do I.

Because it didn't happen.

The most privileged thing I have ever heard is "both parties are the same" because they fucking aren't. 93.5% of Democrats voted against this bill, 91.8% of Republicans voted for it.

These laws exist because people were routinely taken advantage of before the ADA, and lost their jobs and livelihood because they were disabled, when they were perfectly able to do their jobs.

Most employers are not sued under the ADA, because most employers follow the law. The only people who will gain from this are abusive managers who will do everything in their power to crush their employees.

But if you voted third party because of your "Jill Not Hill" bullshit, there are going to be people who are going to lose their jobs because they will be abused by their employers just like we used to be. Clinton (who has been fighting for the rights of disabled people for over 25 years) would have vetoed this, but it is almost certainly going to pass under this Republican trifecta.

Remember what good the filibuster did against tax reform? This thing is likely going to become law.

What's even worse is they passed this in the dead of night as America was reeling from one of the largest school shootings in history.

Kick United Russia out this November. Millions of disabled Americans rely on you.