I refuse to believe Joe Manchin, the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, is as naive as he presents himself. I mean, a couple of weeks ago he was (or at least he said he was) confident the Senate would approve a bipartisan plan to create an independent commission to examine the 1/6 insurrection. He actually said out loud that he believed there would be “ten good, solid patriots” among the Senate Republicans who’d vote for the commission.
Was he right? Nope.
This week Manchin proposed a ‘compromise’ on voting rights. Democrats, of course, want sweeping legislative protections designed to make elections secure and accessible to every eligible voter. Republicans want legislation designed to make elections limited as much as possible to Republican voters; Democrats can go fuck themselves.
It’s hard to come up with a compromise between those two positions. But Manchin, bless his heart, tried. And he actually cobbled something together that was inadequate, but at least offered a semi-reasonable starting position. He pared the Democratic wishlist down to the bone, and added a few points that Republicans advocated. You can read the actual text of the compromise, but here are the main points of his plan.
The Good Stuff: — Election Day would be a public holiday. Everybody gets the day off to go vote. — At least 15 days (including two weekends) of continuous early voting in federal elections — Automatic voter registration at the DMV for citizens, allow people to opt out if they didn’t want to appear on the voting rolls — A ban on partisan gerrymandering, districts decided by computer models — At least 7 days notification of a change in polling location
The Not-Good Stuff: — Doesn’t require no-excuse mail-in balloting — Doesn’t require convenient ballot drop boxes for early voting — Doesn’t prevent states from requiring extra ID security measures for people requesting mail-in ballots — Doesn’t require a paper ballot backup
It’s…well, it’s pretty much what Manchin claimed he wanted; it’s a compromise. Not a good compromise, but a compromise. It includes provisions which both Democrats and Republicans want, and provisions to which both parties object. You know…a compromise. So of course, Republicans have rejected it out of hand. They rejected it because it’s a compromise–and because Manchin himself is being a horse’s ass about the filibuster, the Republicans don’t have to compromise on anything.
It MUST be clear even to Joe Manchin that the GOP is no longer interested in representative democracy. Again, I don’t think Manchin can be accused of naivete. At this point in time–and frankly, this was obvious during the Obama administration–to believe Congressional Republicans have any interest at all in compromise or bipartisanship is NOT naive. Naivete at that level is tantamount to stupidity.
Aristotle (yeah, I’m calling in the Greeks) believed the function of the brain was to cool the blood–that it wasn’t involved in the thinking process. Joe Manchin may provide an argument in Aristotle’s favor.
Because I have chores to do, I decided it was time to snorkel through the murky, fetid waters of FreeRepublic and see how those ‘patriots’ were responding to the Recent Welcome News (the RWN being that New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance has convened a grand jury to conduct a criminal investigation of Comrade Trump and the Trump Organization). I expected to see anger, resentment, victim-whinging, and threats (which, to be fair, is what I expect from FreeRepublic regardless of the issue). My expectations were met.
I found a discussion thread entitled The Left is Anticipating President Trump’s Indictment but They Haven’t Thought About What That Means to Everyone. It began with a long introduction involving (and I’m not making this up) the author’s role in helping “a very senior CIA officer” convert to Catholicism. Somehow, that conversion process included a discussion of politics, in which this alleged CIA officer supposedly said this:
“What separates us from the Third World in our politics…are the twin concepts of peaceful transfer of power via the ballot box rather than by military intervention and the unwritten and unspoken principle that victors do not use the police power of the state to punish the vanquished.”
And hey, aside from the slur against the so-called Third World, I agree. I thought perhaps somebody on Freep actually understood that trying to violently overturn the will of the voters is a bad thing. Silly rabbit. He was, in fact, talking about the ‘political persecution’ of Comrade Trump by a vindictive Socialist Biden administration. If Trump is indicted/arrested/tried/incarcerated, he argued, then the next Republican POTUS will necessarily feel obligated to persecute his Democratic predecessor.
The next Republican president will be under enormous pressure to take a similar Democrat scalp. To be on the safe side and make it hurt, hell [sic] probably have to take down several prominent Democrats.
The reasoning here is fascinating, in a perverse way. I mean, the underlying premise (that Comrade Trump is honest, decent, truthful, patriotic, faithful, loyal, and selfless AND actually won the 2020 election) is so flawed and blatantly false that the entire combustible world has to be turned upside down and inside out in order to support it. It’s like saying, “Since we all agree the moon is made of semi-soft brie, clearly the moon landings must be fake; a brie surface lacks the tensile strength to support the weight of the Apollo Lunar Lander.”
The ‘patriots’ of Freep had a variety of responses. Some are certain Trump will never be indicted because he didn’t commit a crime. Some believe Vance lacks the cojones to indict Trump. Many are convinced (or claim to be convinced, or are eager to claim they’re convinced) that a Trump arrest will spark another Civil War. Some seem to believe Democrats want a Civil War because “[T]hey think they can win it…they hold, however tenuously, the presidency, and both houses of Congress (wait, wut?)…the FBI and CIA are aligned with them…the military is going full woke…they control almost all media outlets. And some argue nothing at all will happen if Trump finds himself in an orange jumpsuit, because too many Americans are cowards and the institutions of US democracy are already too corrupt.
Re: “The next Republican president will be under enormous pressure to take a similar Democrat scalp. To be on the safe side and make it hurt, hell probably have to take down several prominent Democrats.” That is absurd. The GOP will do NOTHING – even if by some miracle we win a national election. The Trump DOJ, the Trump FBI, the Trump Intelligence Community, and the Trump appointed Judges, did NOTHING to stop the rampant criminality of the Democrat Party.
It’s simply impossible for these fuckwits to consider that Trump’s claims of election fraud were so obviously false that even his own appointees in the DOJ, the FBI, the IC, and on the courts couldn’t take them seriously. No, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Intelligence Community, and even those federal judges appointed by Trump–ALL of them must be completely corrupt, all of them must have turned their backs and stared vacantly into the sun while Democrats openly rigged the election in all 50 states in order to steal the election from Donald Trump. It’s obvious. There’s no other explanation.
Since the moon is made of semi-soft brie, the moon landings must be fake.
I read the news every morning. A variety of news from a variety of sources. A lot of news. World news, US news, weather news, technology news, science news, art news, historical news (which isn’t an oxymoron), an increasingly smaller bit of sports news (mostly cycling news IF it pertains to electric bikes), occasional religious news, and an eclectic smattering of entertainment news (movie/tv/fiction reviews, some gaming news, nothing that involves scandals or super hero/comic stuff or Kardashians–who I keep thinking are an alien species on an early Star Trek series, but apparently aren’t). I like the news. I like to keep up. Even when the news is frustrating.
This morning I read an Associated Press article about ‘vaccine hesitancy’. A lot of people–mostly in Republican-led states–aren’t just hesitant about getting the Covid vaccine; they’re actively resistant. And resistant for massively stupid reasons. For example, this woman from Mississippi:
“All of the strong Christians that I associate with are against it. Fear is what drives people to get the vaccine — plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want the vaccine or feel that it’s necessary.”
I dunno, but I think if I was a god, I wouldn’t want to be worshipped by intellectually lazy people. I mean, what’s the value of a worshiper who essentially says, “You know, I’m not gonna make any decisions that require me to think; I’ll just let god decide.” Folks who could gather information, make an informed decision and act on it, but choose not to? Fuck that; I’d want those fuckwits to worship some other god.
You get a cut on your leg? “Fear is what drives people to get band-aids—plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want a band-aid or feel that it’s necessary.” You live downstream from a pig farm? “Fear is what drives people to purify their water—plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want clean water or feel that it’s necessary.” Volcano erupting? “Fear is what drives people to avoid lava and pyroclastic flow—plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to leave town when an eruption is imminent or feel that it’s necessary.”
If I was a god, I wouldn’t force worshipers to put band-aids on cuts or get vaccinated against deadly diseases or leave Dodge if a volcano was getting frisky. But I like to think I’d let them know they idiots and maybe they’d be better off finding another god somewhere down the street.
Okay, I’m not a god. I don’t have a clue how gods think. I suppose there might be gods who are willing to be worshipped by any dunce that walks down the street. I suppose there are gods who don’t care about grammar, who hear their followers say ‘the least they are likely to’ and just give a celestial shrug. Maybe there are gods who actually want worshipers who can’t be bothered to slap a bandage on a cut or purify their water. Maybe they think that’s funny–the divine equivalent to prank television. Look at those rubes; the pigs shit in the water upstream and they’re just gonna drink it…hilarious! There’s no reason gods can’t be assholes too, I guess.
Here’s the problem: all those folks refusing to use band-aid, refusing purify their water, refusing to evacuate when the volcano gets active–they’re only hurting themselves. But refusing to get vaccinated, that hurts other people. That’s selfish. I’m of the opinion that any god who wants selfish worshipers is an asshole god and doesn’t deserve any respect. I feel sorry for people who’d worship an asshole god. I feel sorry for them, but I want them (and their god) to stay away from me.
You know George R.R. Martin, right? The writer. The guy who wrote 5/7ths of a very good fantasy fiction series, which was turned into 7/8ths of a pretty good HBO series? Well, it’s being reported that HBO has given him a five-year deal worth “mid-eight figures” to develop other series based on the Game of Thrones universe.
HBO has deep pockets, to be sure–but I’m thinking it’s idiotic to pay him that much coin. I mean, the guy does good work. There are problems with it, of course–the sexism and racism and all that–but the overall dramatic quality of the work is very good. He just doesn’t finish the work. He’s like a master cabinetmaker who designs and creates a beautiful, original kitchen, but doesn’t bother to install the cabinets. They’re just left sitting there on the floor, pretty but incomplete. And as for George R.R. Martin’s GoT universe? At this point, who cares?
Don’t get me wrong. I still remember when a friend told me I should read the original novel, A Game of Thrones. I’d gone through a period where I read some fantasy fiction, but I’d largely gone off of the genre. It all seemed predictable and derivative. This isn’t a verbatim conversation, but it went something like this:
Him: You’ve got to read this book. You’ll love it. It’s unlike anything you’ve read. Me: Are there elves in it? Him: No elves. Me: Dwarves? Him: No. Well, yes, but not like Dwarf Dwarves. There’s a character who is a dwarf. Me: But not with a long beard and an innate skill for metallurgy. Him: Right. Me: Okay then. What about dragons? Are there dragons? Him: No. Well, yes, but not like Dragon dragons. Mostly just eggs. Me: I don’t know. Him: You’ll love it, trust me. Me: I don’t know. Him: You know how when you read a book you pretty much know who the heroes and bad guys are? You pretty much know who’s going to die and who won’t? Me: Yeah. Him: Well, that doesn’t apply here.
And hey, he was right. It was unlike anything I’d read, and I did love it. The characters were wildly diverse, mostly complex, but they still managed to be internally consistent. It was clearly fantasy, but the fantasy elements felt grounded. I mean, sure there was magic; you have to expect that in fantasy fiction. But it wasn’t airy fartsy magic–you know, a wizard in a goofy hat holding up a staff and firing off balls of lightning. The magic was magic in the same way menstrual fluid is blood–it was messy, maybe, but basic and honest.
And yeah, there was no way to guess who was going to live or die. Main characters were killed. Not killed in noble, honorable, heroic ways. Killed ugly for stupid reasons. Killed ugly and pointlessly (well, not pointlessly in terms of the narrative, but pointlessly in terms of the story world). They just got killed or maimed, and there it was. Nobody in the story was safe. It was awful and completely glorious. Okay, as the story progressed and the novels got longer and more popular, the main characters became safer. But the precedent had been set, and you were never quite sure if they were really safe.
I had to wait almost a year for the second book in the series to be published. And it was worth the wait. A Clash of Kings was as good as the first novel. We knew at that point it was going to be a trilogy. The third novel, A Storm of Swords, also took about a year and was equally good. By then Martin had decided there’d be six books. That was a tad concerning; six books is a LOT of story. But if Martin could maintain the quality of the work and the novels were published at a reasonable rate, then yay.
We had to wait five years for the fourth book, A Feast for Crows. Five years. Half a decade. Still, it was quite a good novel. But lawdy what a long wait. The only good thing about that long wait was that, just before the fourth novel was published, I had time to re-read the three earlier books so I could remember what had happened.
Then I waited six years for the fifth book. Six years. It only took two years for Magellan to circumnavigate the globe in a goddamn carrack (with a similar body count, by the way). Six years, and by then Martin had decided there’d be maybe seven books in the series. Seven fucking books. Maybe. I bought the book, whatever it was called, and read it, but by that point I’d rather lost my excitement about the story. There were a few characters I was still interested in (Tyrion and Arya, of course), but the story itself had pretty much lost its meaning for me. I sort of recall enjoying the fifth book, but it felt bloated and sluggish, like it had overeaten and just wanted to take a nap.
That was ten years ago, and we’re still waiting for the sixth book. Wait, that’s not true. I’m not waiting for it at all. I no longer care if the sixth or seventh novels ever get published. I watched the HBO series, and for me the story is done. I’m told the series ending may be different from the ending of the novels, but Jeebus on toast, who cares?
Look, George. R.R. Martin gave us three really solid novels, as well as a couple of pretty good ones. That’s no small thing. But he’s let his readers down. He built up their expectations, then failed to meet them. He effectively promised–and continues to repeat that promise–that he’d finish this story. He should either plant his ass in a chair and finish it or just admit that he’s done–that the story is going to remain unfinished. He needs to be honest with the readers, who are rightfully disappointed in him.
We also have a legit reason to be disappointed in HBO. They produced six good seasons of Martin’s story–and one season that was only okay, as well as the massively awful final season. But that’s also partially down to Martin. The HBO series was flawed but mostly solid so long as they had access to the source material–the novels. When they tried to go beyond the novels, even with Martin’s help, the quality of the story suffered.
Maybe the new HBO-Martin projects will be good television. Maybe it’s clever of HBO to buy access to Martin’s story world, but leave Martin himself out of it. Maybe they can produce good work if they decide not to rely on Martin for anything other than ideas. I don’t know.
What I know is this: I don’t much care what George. R.R. Martin is doing now. Or what he promises he’s going to do. I’m grateful for his early work, but that’s it. I don’t care that HBO is preparing more shows based on his story world. I’m grateful for the few good seasons of GoT, and that’s it.
But the promise of more of Martin’s work? Pardon me while I yawn.
Comrade President Donald Trump tweeted that he’s disappointed with the US Supreme Court. They can’t be trusted. However, the appellate courts…well, no, can’t trust them either. The lower courts? Sorry, can’t be trusted. Governors of states that voted for Uncle Joe Biden? No way they can be trusted, even if they’re Republicans. Same for Republican Secretaries of States. They’re just untrustworthy. Attorney General Bill Barr? Can’t be trusted. In fact, the entire Department of Justice can’t be trusted. The FBI? Nobody trusts those fuckers. The Intelligence Community? Nope, can’t be trusted. The Democrats? Hah. The corporation that made the Dominion voting machines? Can’t be trusted at all. The people who counted the votes? Can’t be trusted. The poll workers and non-partisan poll watchers? Nope, can’t be trusted. Actual voters? C’mon, some of them are black. Don’t even talk to me about the news media. They don’t even trust themselves. Women? You’re joking, right? What about Dr. Fauci? Nope, can’t be trusted. Scientists in general, you can’t trust them. In fact, science itself can’t be trusted.
So who can you trust? Jared Kushner? You can sorta kinda trust his wife. Maybe Rudy Guiliani, depending on where his hands are. Mitch McConnell? If you’ve got his tiny balls in a vice grip. Hard to think of anybody else, really. Well, Vladimir Putin. Got to trust Vlad. No choice in the matter. He’s got Trump’s tiny balls in a vice grip.
And Trump himself, of course. You know Trump. You know who he is, you know how he thinks, you know how he acts. You can trust Trump.
It’s true, Trump’s not particularly well-informed. But that’s not because he’s stupid; it’s just because he doesn’t care enough to get informed. I’m not saying he’s smart or anything. Just that he’s not stupid. Not really stupid. He just doesn’t know very much. Okay, he’s stupid as a motherfucker. But still, you can trust him.
And sure, I can’t deny that he’s been known to cheat on occasion. He didn’t actually cheat to get elected in 2016; he just encouraged Russia to cheat for him. And yeah, okay, he’s cheated on his taxes. Of course, he’s cheated on his wife. All of his wives. Hell, he even cheated on the women he cheated on his wives with. Seems he also cheated on his SATs. Everybody agrees he cheats at golf. Okay, the guy cheats like a motherfucker. But hey, you can trust him.
And sure, maybe he doesn’t always tell the entire truth. He’s given to exaggeration, it’s true. And yeah, there are times when his interpretation of the truth doesn’t match any commonly accepted version of the truth. Sometimes he adds a little personal spin to the truth. I suppose you could say he…well, he lies, Okay, there are moments when he straight up, flat out lies. Lots of moments. Actually, he lies a lot. All the time. Big lies. Gargantuan lies. He lies about almost anything. Small unimportant things like crowd sizes, big critically important things like pandemics. Or national security. The fact is, Trump lies like a motherfucker. But seriously, you can trust him.
What? You want evidence? You want proof? Sure, no problem. Give him some money. That’s how you really learn whether or not a person can be trusted. Give Trump your money. A little bit of money, a lot of money, it doesn’t matter. Give him the money you were going to donate at church. Give him the money you’d saved to buy a new chainsaw. Give him the money you planned to invest in your children’s education. Give him the money you’d have spent on insulin. Give him your money, watch what he does with it.
There’s where you’ll find your proof. Show the libtards how much you trust Trump. Prove to the world that Trump can be trusted. Give him your money.