I have been saying for years that if you have a valid position or cause, but lie about it, you harm the cause. You give the opposition the ability to throw that lie in your face endlessly. You undermine the very issue you want to highlight. Abortion is one of the most dishonestly discussed topics out there, and it’s back in the spotlight.
The new abortion law in Alabama is one of these things. It is about 1800 words long, a nicely compact piece of legislation. Have ANY of the people sounding off about it read it?
Nope. They haven’t bothered to educate themselves.
The law is available for anyone to read: http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/searchableinstruments/2019RS/bills/SB211.htm
What is DOES NOT DO is hold a woman legally liable for having an abortion. In fact, it addresses that specifically:
Section 5. No woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed shall be criminally or civilly liable. Furthermore, no physician confirming the serious health risk to the child’s mother shall be criminally or civilly liable for those actions.
Huh. Not just nothing mandating prosecution, but language specifically and explicitly blocking such charges. The law also specifically states that in the event of legal challenge, it is not in effect, and the previous laws apply.
Section 8. The construction of existing statutes and regulations that regulate or recognize abortion in Alabama that are in conflict with or antagonistic to this act shall be repealed as null and void and shall recognize the prohibition of abortion as provided in this act. If this act is challenged and enjoined pending a final judicial decision, the existing statutes and regulations that regulate or recognize abortion shall remain in effect during that time.
VP candidate Elizabeth Warren is making a lot of noise about forgiving some student loans. Mostly for households earning less than $100,000 per year.
Needless to say, this is very popular with a lot of people, mostly those with ‘__ Studies’ degrees. From the right comes rejection beyond the usual ‘a Democrat proposed it’. That is centered around the idea that many, many people took loans, and paid them, so why can’t everyone do the same. It is a decent enough argument, if you ignore the deep flaws. Some of the thinkers on the right see the flaw. Due to loans being extended to everyone who wants one, the cost of college bloated, benefiting the universities. That at the expense of the students. They propose that the colleges bear the burden of ensuring that they can justify their expense, and then cover the loans when the degree they confer is worthless.
The problem with not doing this as a full-time thing (or with a collection of co-bloggers to pick up slack) is that sometimes reality is so far out of alignment that it takes too long to synthesize a post. By the time it’s ready, some other nonsense has happened, and it’s time to start over.
I saw this endorsement of direct democracy on Facebook, and had to, in the finest conservative tradition, pounce. Here is the image again:
Ok, let’s unpack that. Using the kind of self-serve kiosks that you see in newer McDonalds is funny, admittedly. Using them in the meme got me thinking. We are closer to national direct democracy than we have ever been.
And that is not a good thing. There are advantages to the republican form of government, not the least of which is a shield against mob rule. And make no mistake, that is exactly what direct democracy is – the rule of the mob. And no one wants that in their lives.
Liberal readers, consider that in direct democracy, if county X in state Y decides to outlaw homosexuals or illegal aliens, that’s the new law. Direct democracy for the win!
Conservative readers, consider that in direct democracy, if county X in state Y decides to outlaw fossil fuels, that’s the new law. Direct democracy for the win! And don’t laugh – see the Green New Deal and the inexplicably allowed to continue Juliana v. United States suit that seeks to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
But that’s just the tip of the direct democracy iceberg
How do you enforce one citizen / one vote rules that direct democracy requires? With modern technology it’s pretty easy, actually. Just offer up a fingerprint or rental scan, then vote. Well, easy except for the infrastructure to actually do it, which isn’t the iceberg I’m referring to.
Anyway, no, the iceberg in this analogy is the question ‘who owns the data’.
Didn’t think of that one, did you? Who owns all that juicy biometric data needed to prevent vote fraud? The government? Google? Apple? Who do you trust to keep it secret, keep it safe?
I don’t trust the government. They left my personal data open to whomever (read: China) wanted it in the OPM hack. Others in the bureaucracy have been leaking anything to the press they think can harm the President for a few years now. No, I can’t actually trust the government to keep vital personal data safe.
Equifax is out – same reason. Google is out. They have too much data on us already, and as a private company must not be trusted to run an election. Which also kicks out Apple, and every other company in the world.
So who do you trust with your data?
And no, it won’t just be the biometrics to secure the vote
In order to function as a direct democracy, each voter needs to be registered to a state, county, township (if used), municipality, ward (if used), etc. That information includes your name and address, of course – it has that now. When you patch in the needed information to vote – a biometric scan of some form – you enter into a scenario where the risk of identity theft becomes greatly heightened. If I have your name, address, and fingerprint, I can unlock your phone or computer, and gain direct access to your deepest personal data. Easily.
But why use biometrics, why not use a smart ID card, like Homeland Security uses? First, of course, is cost. Second, how do you vote without it? We have people hieing unto their fainting couches at the mere thought of requiring easily-obtained ID, which is also needed for almost every other governmental, financial, business, or employment function. How do you think they would respond to requiring a fancy new ID?
Also, if you can loose it, it isn’t secure. Full stop.
So, to recap – direct democracy is technologically possible in a nation of 300+ million people. Direct democracy needs to have a secure and unbeatable way of verifying votes in real time, and that requires infrastructure that does not exist, and a level of network security that the US government has proven incapable of providing. This would also represent an expansion of the government, even if a logical one, and resisting expansion is one of our foundational beliefs.
In other words, direct democracy isn’t an actual option.
I remember it vividly. There was outcry from the media and the fandom over a casting choice. The broad consensus seemed to be that it was pretty much the worst casting decision for the character. Although there was some dissent on who was the right actor for the character. Friends in the fandom and I all agreed, we didn’t think it would work, but we would likely see the movie anyway.
The year was 1988, the actor was Michael Keaton. The movie was Batman.
And we were all wrong, it worked really, really well. As have many other questioned (by one or many) casting choices. Examples range from John Boyega as Finn (because someone may have complained about a black Stormtrooper?), to Daisy Ridley as Rey (or so I am told?), to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (honestly, the only complaint I ever heard about her was that she was too thin…), to the cast of the reboot Ghostbusters. All worked. All were controversial to varying degrees, but all worked out. When you think back, I am sure you will remember more – and not all worked, but many did. Hell, I remember joking about Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan as an action hero. But three Matrix movies and two John Wicks later, we have the odd transposition of John ‘Neo’ Wick as a aged slacker in Bill & Ted 3?
The more things change, right?
I bring this up, because we are again in the throes of another stupid casting controversy. Which now, in the age of the internet and instant validation for any and all opinions, means controversy over the movie itself. Before it is released, of course. That is actually one of the key points – real controversy lasts through release, manufactured controversy ends with release. If there were really any problems based on gender or race, they wouldn’t go away with a good performance. The Kelly Marie Tran / Rose Tico issue began after release. She wasn’t an issue until then. So the issues were real, even if they were with the character and our society is too stupid to distinguish between the two.
With Captain Marvel, I see a movie with a main character that is…off. Brie Larson’s facial expressions seem to be either ‘this is so stupid I can’t believe it…must not laugh’ or ‘I don’t get it at all, my agent did this to me, must look serious’. Again, this is based on nothing but the trailers. Actual footage may have different looks happening, we will see.
Worth noting that Jude Law is wearing the same expression. I have seen more of his movies than Brie Larson’s. I have seen two with her in it – Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Kong: Skull Island. It is six for Jude Law, including Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow, Enemy At The Gates, eXistenZ, Gattaca, and his Sherlock Holmes movies. So I know both of them can, in fact, have a range of facial expressions. They just, in the trailers, don’t really seem to here.
For now, it looks like the only fun being had is from Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury. Which is fine, that would be a fun movie.
I do want to see if the so-called controversy over this lasts past opening weekend. If the controversy vanishes, then there is a good chance it was manufactured – either for laughs or to keep the property in the media / social media cycle.
But there is more to be concerned about…
Captain Marvel has, as the main (so I hear at least) villains the shape-shifting Skrulls.
I don’t like that. I have never been a fan of the Skrulls. Green-skinned, pointy-eared aliens that can look like anyone. It is a bit of a too-on-the-nose warning about Canadians, and while it is true that they look just like us, and speak mostly like us, that doesn’t mean they are infiltrating and undermining our society! Canadians, or Soviets, either way, really.
The reason I dislike bringing them in is because it carries so very much baggage with it, and feels like a setup for ‘no, that wasn’t REALLY Character X, just a Skrull!’ as a way to undo the Snap. Like the ill-fated Daredevil movie, there is also far too much background to fit into a single movie, and still have it’s own plot in there too. Which makes me worry that Captain Marvel will fall on the Green Lantern / Daredevil end of the quality spectrum. Not a place anyone wants to be.
Are the Skrulls actually representing something darker?
Further, if the Skrulls are just there to serve as fake heroes, fallen to Thanos, that changes them from Soviet analogues to something far worse. It makes them into whipping boys (aliens?). And there is a really bad connotation there:
A whipping boy was a slave who suffered corporal punishment on behalf of his young master.
So, are we introducing these aliens just to kill them off? Are we going to try to tell the Kree / Skrull War storyline? Or are we just lazy about it all now, and tossing in a set of instant baddies who don’t take much work?
Taking that further, the Skrull are presented as a classic ‘evil race’. Like the poorly written Drow, everyone is evil! Which is also problematic. We get too much of that kind of crap in reality. We have progressives dividing the world into ‘white’ and ‘not white’ as synonyms for ‘bad’ and ‘good’, and conservatives branding all liberals as pro-infanticide. Neither is right, and both are their own kinds of evil. So adding in the ‘evil Skrulls’ into an already hot mess of social discord seems tone-deaf at best, and the cinematic version of the Limp Bizkit performance at Woodstock 99 at worst.
It began as a joke – something so obvious even a blind lemur could see it. The Democrats seem canine-centric (Blue Dog, Yellow Dog), so I figured we on the right could use a fun animal, and frankly, lemurs are all the rage! So I hear. Kinda. Anyway, after deciding that the leadership is so inept that a blind lemur could lead better, I decided to create this movement. And perhaps even spin it off into the real world. Stranger things have happened.