Monday, October 31, 2016

Odd Bits - The Survivor's Edition

It was kind of a rough week last week; a bunch more people got let go at my office.  Yes, I’m fine, but it really plays on you watching people you like having to pack up their desks and knowing you’ll probably never see them again.

You may remember that my company was bought, last year, by a competitor company. Obviously, any time you have two fully functioning organizations doing the same job, there’s going to be some job loss.  But knowing it’s coming still doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to your friends.

Last year, we had 8 people sitting in our little bump-out at the back of the building.  After two women from our department were let go on Tuesday, we’re down to three.


I know my job is safe for the near future, so I’m not worrying about myself.  And it’s not exactly “survivor’s guilt,” because the two from my group were both in their 60, wanting to retire, and just waiting for that severance package.  They basically skipped out the door like they were going down the Yellowbrick Road.

But one of them, my next-desk neighbor, always asked how my weekend was and listened while I recounted my recent adventures.  She really gave a damn.  And the other one?  That was my TV buddy.  Every morning we’d get together and recap the previous night’s shows we both watched.  Without these two in the office, I’m going to have to actually start working when I get the door.

***

Early voting opened up in Maryland last week, so I went out on Saturday to vote.  It was completely uneventful, as I suspected it would be.  The poll worker I talked so said it was really busy early, but less crowded and “steady” the rest of the afternoon.  I was in and out in 15 minutes, and that counts about 8 minutes of walking to and from the car.

It was quite a different scene when I voted early before the 2012 election.  There was a big storm/hurricane forecasted to blow through on Election Day and a lot of people (like me) wanted to make sure my vote was in before there was any trouble.  I wrote about it all right here.

One of the things I wrote four years ago, holds true today as it did back then:

“There is really no substantive reason to prevent early voting.  Any safeguards in place on Election Day are in place when you vote early.   The movement to suppress our citizens’ voting rights under the guise of preventing voter fraud is not now, nor has ever been anything but a smokescreen to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters.”

Republicans were trying to rig the game then just like they are now.  The only novel part this season is how they’re accusing the Democrats of doing the rigging, all the while passing law after law that “just coincidentally” happens to affect likely Democratic voters.

In Arizona alone, in heavily Latino Maricopa County, the Republicans have:
·        Reduced the number of polling places by 70%.
·        Printed 2 million Spanish-language ballots with the wrong description for a local Proposition.
·        Printed the wrong polling place on election material mailed out to two heavily Democratic precincts.  (Oopsie!)

Multiply these things by every state run by the GOP and you have election rigging on a massive scale.

Conservative outlets love to talk about the tens of thousands of dead people who are still registered to vote.  You know what? Unless they all pop out of the grave, OR tens of thousands of people come out of the woodwork to vote in their place, it doesn’t make a lick of difference.  It’s only proof of their own shoddy election recordkeeping.  It’s a problem they could fix if they cared to.  All it would take are a couple of interns and 20 years of death records.  But it’s more useful as a political Trojan horse, to fool people who aren’t smart enough to know any better.

And then you have the threat of Russians hacking voting systems and installing the puppet they’re working so hard to bolster via the DNC hacks.  In my opinion, Democratic turnout has to be massive to overcome the deck the Republicans have stacked against them.

It’s no wonder conservatives rely so heavily on logical fallacy and misdirection to sway their followers.  The truth doesn’t help them so deception is all they have.  Like here:

There are two parts here.  The first fallacy is an invalid comparison.  The "4 Americans” in question were in an embassy under siege, with no military support within tactical range.  (Perhaps there might have been, if the GOP congress hadn’t turned down requests for increased security funding for embassies, in 2011 and 2012.  But Conservatives don’t talk about that little detail.)  The Syrian refugees are not hard to find, nor are they going anywhere.  So, of course they are able to be “rescued.”  To suggest otherwise is willfully disingenuous.

The other part is that they get “our benefits and housing free of charge.”  I’m not sure I’d call crowded mass barracks “housing” any more than you would a jail.  But it’s funny how often you see a conservative argument that boils down to this: “Why should we spend money on “X” (foreign issue du jour) before we take care of our own “Y” (pet domestic issue)?

Reading that point, you’d think Republicans actually want to help our own people.  But in reality, Republicans vote against aid to anyone who isn’t running a corporation.  Homeless?  Screw’em.  Working poor?  Screw’em.  Disabled vets?  Screw’em.  (Yes, the GOP loves to talk about helping our returning servicemen, but they voted down anything proposed by this administration, even at the cost of our veterans.)

Here’s another example of conservative misdirection, namely, the Strawman Argument.

No one says that we must take down flags and crosses so we don’t offend Muslims.  No one.

If these guys were honest, they would say, “Liberals won’t let us buffalo our one single religion into public spaces that serve people of all faiths.”  But then that’s not as scary, so they pervert the argument and attack the ridiculous statement they just made up.

None of it has to do with political correctness; it has to do with upholding Article One of the Constitution.  (Conservatives love the Constitution as long as you’re talking about the 2nd Amendment.  The rest is just an impediment to getting more guns.)

***

This should be the easiest election decision to make, ever, if you’re a reasonable person.  The big rallying cry on the right is what?  Make America Great Again.  Take America Back.  Geez…

Just who the fuck do they think they’re taking America away from?  The 15 million more Americans who voted for Obama over McCain or Romney?  What the hell do they want to be different?

It should be very simple.

If you’re filthy rich or run a top-tier corporation, vote Republican.

If you feel you are within your rights to make personal, life-changing decisions for other people, who may or may not share your ideas, vote Republican.

If you’re afraid of foreigners or feel your benefits of white privilege may begin to diminish, due to growing influence of non-white people, vote Republican.

If you believe that our country of multiple religions and ideologies should be run by the principles of your Christian religion only, vote Republican.

But if you want to continue to allow people who love each other to get married, continue to have regulators watch over the banking industry to make sure they aren’t screwing us like they used to, (and that they don’t collapse the economy again,) allow women and their doctors to make their own reproductive choices, and fight against the very rich to keep them from buying our government, lock stock and barrel, then you have to vote Democratic.

Not just for Hillary, it has to be up and down the ticket.  Republicans in the Senate are already broadcasting their intentions to not approve any Democratic Supreme Court nominees for the next one or two terms.  Republicans in the House are planning for years of investigations, to do to Hillary what they did to her husband.  They are stating that the gridlock will continue until they get their way.

The only way to prevent that is to vote the bastards out.  All of them.

It’s the only way to move the country forward.

I’ve said it before… The emails don’t matter.  The lawsuits don’t matter.  The "he said/she said" doesn’t matter.  (OK, the pussy grabbing matters a little.)  The health reports don’t matter.  The limited vocabulary doesn’t matter.  The incessant lying doesn’t matter.

The only thing that matters is the direction the leadership is going to take this country.  We either go forwards or backward.  We can’t afford to be stuck in neutral.

3 comments:

  1. Layoffs are the worst. Back when I was working at a voting machine company, my department was continually downsized from 8 people to just me. Like some kind of bad reality show I was the last person standing, which was nice and all because of still having a job, but it did suck because of the people there that genuinely cared getting let go.

    And like I said, that was a voting machine company. It wasn't my actual job, but I got dispatched to a random polling place across the country during every single election, to make sure the machines ran smoothly. What a clusterfuck. Rigging an election is the last thing on your mind when the woman running the polling place is 75 years old, has never used a computer in her life, and doesn't bother checking IDs because 'everyone knows everyone around here anyway.'

    You can't 'hack' the machine, though. Not only because it's not connected to the Internet in any way and will self-implode if it detects any changes in the election settings, but because it was built on outdated, proprietary software that was made in the late 90s/early 2000s. Good luck figuring out how to rewrite that from the machine itself (while I'm watching).

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    1. And let me guess... they didn't pay you 8 times your original salary to pick up the slack, did they?

      I bet that 75-year old lady was a more reliable barometer of eligible voters than any ID or signature match.

      I used to like those old voting machines where you pulled the lever by your candidates and when you were done, pulled the big lever on the side to lock the vote and reset the machine. It was like you placed your vote and then flushed them away. Touch screens, punching cards and filling in little holes with a pen are much less satisfying.

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  2. We are rural and our county votes by mail. Sent mine in a few days ago. And we all know each other, more or less, so voting twice won't get you very far.

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