Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Welcome To The New Politics, Same As The Old

Bernie Sanders and his supporters have been shouting about the Democratic primaries being rigged ever since Nevada (probably longer), but this story is a real eye-roller:

A Bernie Sanders staffer pitched using double-sided coins for breaking ties in Democratic presidential caucuses, according to a new report.

To be fair, there have been instances of the Dem Party putting a thumb on the scales for Clinton. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz found ways to keep things in Clinton’s favor. It should be noted that this was probably due more to her own personal benefit (she protected her Florida Republican buddies by squashing serious Democratic challenges) than anything.

But Sanders’ campaign has been woefully incompetent. The reason they lost Nevada wasn’t because of some organized fraud, but because Sanders’ supporters simply didn’t show up to the delegate seating event – and the ones that did were comically inept.

Off the top of my head, Clinton seated 98% of her delegates. Sanders seated only 74%. Most of the Sanders delegates simply failed to show up, and of the ones who did, most of them either weren’t registered Democrats (there are examples of people who changed their affiliation to ‘independent’ in protest of Sanders losing NY) and/or didn’t even live in Nevada.

Kato’s plan? Cheat. No doubt she thought this would be fair because she thought the process was ‘rigged’. While the two-sided coin didn’t come into play, she also instructed Nevada attendees to stay and create chaos.

I think it’s reasonable to assume that Kato knew the miserable organizational failure that Nevada was going to be. I think she knew that dozens of Sanders delegates simply didn’t qualify for seating, or weren’t going to show up. So her solution was to knock the game board over. You can’t lose if the pieces are scattered on the floor, right?

Playing dirty politics is nothing new. But the real ‘new is old’ part isn’t sneaky political maneuvering: It’s that even in an insurgent, purportedly revolutionary campaign, people can still fail upwards.

Joan Kato is now Sanders’ National Delegate Director.

Monday, 27 June 2016

SFGate, still sucking

SFGate’s sucking is a combination of smaller sucks that creates one big suck. One of these smaller sucking units is what passes for reporting.

Today’s example is this story about a tenant facing eviction because his landlord increased the rent from $1800 to $8000. More than 400%. The story does what it should except for one glaring omission–the landlord’s name.

We’re told the tenant’s name, how long he’s lived there, even pictures of the apartment (neglected by the landlord to a point that it shouldn’t even be worth $1800 a month, letalone eight grand). But the landlord is never named. The reporter writes that she asked for comment–which suggests she knows who to call–but never tells us who the greedy jerkwad is.

Basic journalism. Just basic freakin’ journalism, and SFGate yet again fails to reach the minimum bar.

SFGate sucks.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Bringing The High Ethical Standards Of Real Estate Developers To The People

I don’t know where real estate developers land on the occassional lists of ‘Least Trusted Occupations’, but it’s safe to say they’re not very high. But this breakdown of how Trump’s Presidential campaign is exactly how a developer would do it is eye-opening, expected and horrifying all at the same time:

There are too many tweets in this stream to cover all the points (it’s best viewed via Storify), but the basic gist is this: When a project is failing, the developer will blame others and make a big show of his commitment by saying he’ll put his own money into it. This gets the investors to put up more money. In actuality, the developer’s money never shows up, and he gets to continue to drive the project into the ground while protecting his own assets. It’s a win-win for him. Not so for his marks.

With a flailing campaign that has less cash-on-hand than a decent senatorial effort, Trump is playing this like a real estate deal. He’s saying he’ll do it himself; he’ll put up his own money if his ‘investors’ don’t have the guts. But in the end (especially in light of his recent FEC expediture reports), he’ll use the campaign to enrich himself, and if the thing goes belly up, he’ll still make out fine.

It’s a scam. A con. And there’ll almost certainly be plenty of rich people who will buy into it.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

When agencies get weird

One of the nice things about freelancing is that you get to see the different ways shops run. Some are very corporate, some are very not. Some have their shit together while others don’t. A couple years ago I encounterd a new dynamic: An agency that treats its employees as a captive audience.

I occassionally get emails from the agency because I think an address was set up for me and made to forward to my gmail account. Every once in a while, on of the partners, a ‘branding guru’, will send out something promoting his new book. Yesterday, one of the other partners sent out an email announcing his new agency – but it wasn’t a company-wide press release. It was written and designed like a spam email, treating all the recipents – even the ones who, you know, actually work for the guy – as strangers.

Very weird.