Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Happy Election Day, USA!

Not planning to vote? Check out some of the third party and independents I posted yesterday.
Don't know where to go to vote? You can either type "Where do I go to vote?" into Google and enter your address when prompted or click here.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

An Election Break

The biggest tragedy about this election is NOT that the Democrat candidate is Hillary Clinton (a person who has no regard for the laws of this nation and thinks she is above them) and the Republican candidate is Donald Trump (a person who is guaranteed to only make decisions that benefit himself)—although that is definitely a tragedy big enough to hang your head in shame when people ask if you are an American.


No, the biggest tragedy is that 90% of the people who step into the pole booth on Tuesday will believe that those are the only two candidates from whom they can choose. So depressing was that thought to me, that I almost considered not voting at all in this election. Now, for many of you, not voting is a common thing. For me, I have only missed two elections in which I could vote in my entire life. Last year, we moved on October 30—that means that I would have been voting for local representation in an area where I no longer lived if I had chosen to vote, so I didn't. There was also one election in an "off year" (we only vote for three years in Indiana and then take a year off) that was simply a referendum that I had no opinion about.


I have since revisited my decision not to vote. This is the year when a third party SHOULD be able to overturn the other two. The Republicans and Democrats have been in league with each other for years to the point where they have really stopped representing the ideals on which their respective parties were founded. They have long stopped representing "We the people…" The instead represent whomever gives their party the most money. This is not me, and I would be willing to bet it is also not you. The top two parties have also ensured that other parties do not make it on the ballots because they are the ones who write the laws for who can make it on the ballot. Some laws they have concocted are literally so restrictive in their wording it would be impossible to get on the ballot unless you are the Republican or Democratic nominee.


The top two are also broken because they allow ANYONE to vote in their primaries. That means I, as an independent who frequently votes across party lines, can go down and vote for the Democrat nominee without even remotely wanting to be in the Democrat party. In my state (Indiana), I do have to choose whether I want to vote for the Republican or Democrat and I cannot vote for both, but the one time I did it I was not given the chance to vote for the Libertarian, which tells me their primaries must be more selective. Some states allow you to vote in both the Democrat and Republican primaries (so I have heard). Why? Shouldn't only registered party members be voting in primaries? Yes, they should if you truly want a representative of that party.


However, as I said before, the Republicans and Democrats are only one party. A vote for one, is a vote for the other. Both support their top donors. I literally have somewhere in my garage a signed letter from a Senator stating he would not ever vote for something and then a printout showing he did in fact vote for that thing. In the next election, this senator advertised that he did not vote for that thing (but his voting record showed different). Thankfully, he is no longer in office, but I am pretty sure he is not alone in his deception especially since both of Indiana's current senators have advertised they would never vote for X and then turned around and voted for it! When was the last time you actually checked the voting record of the people you vote for?


So, I will be at the poles but I will be voting for a third party. There are actually some really SOLID choices this year. I am encouraging you (1) to please share this with all your friends and (2) please do a little research and check these people out; you may find you support their party beliefs more than you support your traditional Democrats or Republicans. DO NOT BUY INTO THE HYPE THAT THERE CAN ONLY BE TWO PARTIES. The reason that statement was first made historically is because by the nature of our elections (the person with the most votes wins even if the most votes are 25% of the total votes), only one or two parties will make the voting laws and thereby make it difficult for a third party to get in. That is the purpose of this post. If you live in a state that has barred third parties from being on the ballot, WRITE IN one of these candidate names below—unless you truly want to vote for Trump or Clinton (keep in mind though, a vote for Clinton may actually be a vote for Trump if he can get a felony tacked to her by January). 


LIBERTARIAN: Gary Johnson (former governor of New Mexico) Libertarians believe that states (and ideally individuals) should make most of the laws governing America. They see the Constitution as the ultimate document for determining law. Traditionally, they support abortion, but they believe a person who disagrees with abortion should not be forced to pay for it (in other words they would remove government funding but allow it to remain legal). This candidate does have a vested interest in the marijuana industry (he used to be a CEO). He supports legalizing it at the federal level and allowing states to decide- similar to what our current president has supported. Despite what I have heard a lot of Democrats say, Libertarians are more aligned with their actual beliefs. (Democrats tend to tell me Libertarians are just Republican but this is not true.)


CONSTITUTION: Darrell Castle The constitution party supports the Constitution, but they see the Bible as another important document in determining law. This party is most aligned with what the Republican party believes. This candidate is pro-life. He believes the U. S. should exit from the U.N. and he would like to get rid of the Federal Reserve. Although the Constitution party is on the ballot in more than 20 states, plan on writing his name in if you want to vote for him.


GREEN: Dr. Jill Stein The Green Party believes in putting the environment first (big surprise, I know) and where the environment is silent, they tend to be Democrat in thinking. Their platform revolves around protecting the environment. This candidate supports public ownership of all energy sources, banning pesticides and other toxins, ending fossil fuel extraction that is disruptive to the environment, labeling and getting rid of GMOs. She would like to outlaw insurance but create national healthcare, and she supports any form of abortion.


There is actually a long list of write-in candidates that you can vote for, but these are the top three. A few others (who are on the ballot in 5-20 states) to research are:


(No party) Evan McMullin

Party of Socialism and Liberation Gloria LaRiva

Reform Party Rocky de la Fuente

Socialist Workers Party Alyson Kennedy (that is the official platform website, I couldn't find a specific webpage for her. Ballotopedia has a clearer presentation of the party platform but I don't know how accurate it is.)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

How to Hire a Good Freelancer on Freelancer Websites Like Guru (Part 2)

Once you have posted, how do you pick a freelancer? Well, there are a lot of freelancers out there and there are also a lot of salesmen and then there are a lot of people who need money and don't have a clue about either. You need to learn to tell the difference. I can't tell you how many times I have looked on a freelancer profile and they are bragging about how they did this or that. When you check, you can't find their name (and sometimes you can't find the project they say they worked on) anywhere. You don't know if it was done as ghostwritten work or not. There bid may be from a template (which doesn't necessarily mean they are bad) and their work posted may be plagiarized. How can you tell which freelancer to hire?

The first thing you should do is look at their posted profile (not how much they said they would charge). This is their resume. On every profile, there will be feedback (unless they are new). If there is no feedback, they could still be a good freelancer, but this means you are taking more of a chance. A freelancer with no feedback should expect to get paid much less than a freelancer with years of feedback. If the freelancer only has a couple of feedback posts, they are newer at freelancing (at least on that website) and should have 4-5 stars in everything. Freelancers with a longer history may have a few lower reviews. If all the reviews (or most of them) say the same thing, chances are good that is how the freelancer is. Can you live with a freelancer like that?

The more work samples they have to post, the more things they have done. Do you like their samples? When you look at their profile, do you think they have a good representation of the work you are looking for? For example, say you need someone to design a webpage for you and you go on their profile and see only samples and information about designing clothes with nothing about website design. That is probably not the freelancer for you.

If there profile is not set up, even with good feedback, that is a warning sign. People who freelance for a living take the time to add samples and make their profiles look nice. Again, you can find a good freelancer with no work samples, a poorly set up profile, and no feedback, but you are taking a risk. If your goal is to hire a good freelancer, you should toss any that don't meet this criteria. Now, if a freelancer claims to be working for years on another website, this person should have a ton of work samples to show you. They should be able to send you a message with a link to the other website profile on it to back this up.

Some freelancer websites also offer proficiency tests and the freelancers can post their scores on their profile. How do their scores compare to others?

Once you have screened out any candidates with the above, put their name into a search engine. Most freelance work is done under NDAs or ghostwritten, but established freelancers should have other work out there. Do they have a book on Amazon? Check to see if it was published or self-published. There is nothing wrong with self-publishing (or even vanity presses)- as long as the freelancer isn't trying to pass it off as regular publishing. If you haven't heard of the publisher, you can do a web search on that (unless the freelancer told you they were self-published). Be wary of a freelancer publishing under another name with no way to link that name to his or her real name. Also, be wary of freelancers trying to get you to go against the website's terms of service (for example, if they bid under $25 on Guru or if they try to get you to pay them offsite).

After all this, you should have narrowed the applicants down. The next step is to ask the remaining freelancers a question about the project. How they answer the question should let you know how familiar they are with the project premise and also how well they communicate. Can you deal with their communication style? If not, toss them from the pile. Be careful that they are really answering your question and not responding with fluff and salespeak. Not communicating in clear English should not necessarily toss the candidate out (unless you are trying to hire someone to write in clear English for you). However, you should be able to understand the candidate.

Once you have gone through all this, now you can look at their bid. Unless you were extremely vague in your bid, the freelancer should tell you about how long they think it would take them to do a project as described and about how much they would charge to do this project. They should also outline what they will do that sets them above the rest. Did they send a sample of a project similar to yours- this should be looked at as a bonus (although because of NDAs and ghostwriting a freelancer may not have a sample of the right kind of work or even be able to tell you where they worked on something similar). Now you can compare which you prefer.

Why go through all this to find a good freelancer? Because once you have found one, you can return to him/her whenever you need that kind of work (and potentially other work if they have it listed on his/her profile). You can build a team. Most freelancers prefer working with regular employers and working with a freelancer repeatedly means you no longer have to go through this process because you already know you work well together.