How Low Can You Go – Vikings Mid-Season Finale

The mid-season finale to Vikings, “Moments of Vision,” was incoherent.  The high point of the show was the very beginning when Halfdan and Harald sang to each other.  From there it was straight downhill.

Like the finale to Black Sails’ Season 3, “Moments of Vision” interspersed the climatic final battle with flashbacks.  But “Moments of Vision” also interspersed musings of the various main characters during the battle.  This made for a very disjointed presentation as the show jumped from real time, to what characters were thinking in real time, to the past.  And would you really have time during the type of melee presented to have a flashback to when you were a young child, as Lagertha did, and not be cut to pieces?

Like the first battle, the Sami and Ivar’s forces fought in the forest.  At least in the first battle we were given an explanation why – Ivar sent Hvitserk to outflank Lagertha’s forces.  Why would he make the same mistake twice?  And what the hell was the point of bringing the Sami into the show at all, except as a pretext for the bondage scene between Bjorn and his new wife?

And like the first battle, Ivar just threw his forces against Lagertha’s in a frontal attack.  I suppose he could afford to do so, given that he had “a large force of Franks” fighting with him.  But as I noted in my prior post, just gong berserker is totally inconsistent with the cerebral Ivar who defeated the Saxons.

And speaking of the Franks, we still have no idea why Rollo would have sent his forces to help Hvitserk.  He had no relationship with Hvitserk as opposed to the long and deep relationship he had with Bjorn.  And Hvitserk dissed him as much as Bjorn did when he invited them to colonize his new lands.  Apparently, Rollo will reemerge in the season’s second half as he makes an appearance at the very end of the show.

The scene where Ivar imagined skeletons fighting with Lagertha looked cheap.  I’m sure it was intended to have some deep meaning, but I have no idea what.

I really would have preferred to see Hvitserk killed by Ubbe than Halfdan killed by Harald.  The writers have made Hvitserk into such a servile and unsympathetic character.

What was with Lagertha suddenly having all white hair at the end?  She went into battle expecting to die, yet the shock of losing the battle aged her?  All it did for me was underscore how silly it was that she didn’t age while her contemporaries -Ragnar and Rollo- did.

On to the second half of Season 5.  And nowhere to go but up … I hope.

Vikings Season Five SUCKS!

I haven’t written about Vikings in quite a while -since 2015- but I have been faithfully watching.  Season Five has been an incredible disappointment, especially after the rousing ending of Season Four.

Although the series has been going downhill for some time -for example, Episode 5, when the Vikings emerge from the sewers in broad daylight in full sight of the Saxons instead of at night, which obviously would have led to the Vikings being trapped and slaughtered- I am going to direct my ire at the last two episodes -Episode 8, the Joke, and Episode 9, a Simple Story- because they are relatively fresh in mind.  I watched Episode 9 yesterday and Episode 8 about a week before that.

Episode 8 – So we know what Ragnar saw in Ivar was his mind.  “Use your anger intelligently, and I promise you, my son, one day the whole world will know and fear Ivar the Boneless.”  And the Ivar we’ve seen to this point proves Ragnar correct.  It was Ivar who devised the meticulous and unorthodox battle-plan that defeated King Aethelwulf in the first major battle between the Vikings and Wessex; and in both attempts by Aethelwulf to retake York, the Saxons failed because Ivar drew the Saxons into carefully laid traps.

Yet in Episode 8 we see Ivar arrive at the most important battle of his life without any plan at all.  And then the plan he devises on the spot makes no sense.  He sends Hvitserk to outflank Lagertha’s forces without scouting the terrain -his hallmark in every previous battle- which results in the Sami ambushing Hvitsek.  And even if the Sami hadn’t been waiting, the flanking maneuver was done in full view of Lagertha’s forces, which made it pointless as Lagertha could have simply redeployed forces to protect her flank.  And if that’s not bad enough, Ivar suddenly realizes he’s left his ships unprotected and even though it’s obviously too late to protect the ships if Lagertha has sent forces to destroy them, goes himself instead of sending a subordinate.  So for no apparent reason we have Ivar go from a military visionary always several steps ahead of the opposing commanders to an indecisive neophyte who thinks it’s more important to personally protect his army’s means of retreat than command the battlefield.

None of this makes any sense.  At least the twists and turns in Rollo’s character occurred in separate seasons.  Speaking of Rollo …

Episode 9 – was even worse.  No reason was presented for Rollo involving himself in a Viking civil war taking place in Norway, except a promise to Hvitserk that Rollo never actually made.  And wouldn’t Rollo sending his ships and troops to fight for Ivar leave Rollo’s kingdom vulnerable to raids by other Vikings?  It’s one thing to take artistic license with history.  It’s another thing to be historically licentious.  Vikings, sadly, has become the latter.

And the plot in Wessex made no sense either.  There was no explanation presented for Aethelred refusing the throne and then nominating Alfred.

I used to so look forward to each new episode of Vikings.  Not anymore.

The Real Myth About Voter Fraud in New Hampshire is the Myth That Voter Fraud is a Myth

The Democrats, the #nhpolitics press and the GOP Establishment insist that voter fraud is a myth.  They doth protest too much, to borrow a phrase from the bard.

It is beyond cavil that in 2016 drive-by –out-of-State– voters tipped New Hampshire to Maggie Hassan, and it is certainly arguable that they also tipped the State to Hillary Clinton.

Here’s the 2016 vote tally for President and United States Senate:Hillary beat President Trump by 2,736 votes, while Maggie got only 1,017 more votes than Ayotte.  The question, needless to say, is how many of these votes were fraudulent.

We can answer this question because we have a good handle on the number of drive-by voters from data provided by the New Hampshire Secretary of State and we can make reasonable estimates of how these votes split between the Democrats and the GOP.

There are various categories of drive-by voters.  Let’s start with the largest.  Those who are allowed to vote with out-of-State licenses.

From a recent report by the New Hampshire Secretary of State:

It is reasonable to assume that these 5,333 voters were primarily out-of-State college students.  From a September, 2017 article by Kevin Landrigan regarding the Secretary of State’s report:

Last February, Gardner reported about 5,900 “new” voters — those not on the pre-election checklist — who cast ballots last November presented out-of-state driver’s licenses at the polls. Among this group, nearly two-thirds of them voted in college towns: Durham (1,608); Hanover (774); Keene (624); and Plymouth (397).

The total from the towns listed by Landrigan comes to 3,403.  Landrigan’s count, however, is clearly incomplete.

Add in the “new” voters in towns and cities not counted by Landrigan that are adjacent to the towns he listed or are themselves the locations of colleges:

Dover (113 – UNH), Goffstown (186 – Saint Anselm’s), Henniker (135 – New England College), Hooksett (165 – SNHU), Manchester (264 – SNHU and Saint Anselm’s) and Rindge (214 – Franklin Pierce)

and we are up to 4,367.  I am going to assume –in order to make the math easy and because the rough count above certainly missed some college students (because I din’t list all adjacent towns)– that 4,500 of the 5,333 voters who voted in 2016 using an out-of-State license and who did not subsequently obtain a New Hampshire license were out-of-State college students.

Democrats have suggested that this vote would have split evenly between the parties.  In other words, “no harm, no foul.”  Poppycock.

According to Pew, young voters -voters aged 18 to 29- went for Clinton 55 percent to 37 percent.  This gap is among young voters in general.  It is reasonable to assume that the gap is significantly higher among college students choosing to vote in New Hampshire rather than their home-States.

As New Hampshire Public Radio has conceded, “college towns have consistently given Democrats a boost, especially in general elections”.  For example, the Secretary of State’s records show that Hanover went for Hillary over Trump 6,561 to 926 or more than seven to one.  Needless to say, this is why the Democrats and their surrogates such as the ACLU frantically oppose any and all efforts to prevent out-of-State college students from voting in New Hampshire.

Let’s assume that three-quarters of the 4,500 out-of-State college students voted Democrat, an extremely cautious assumption given -as noted above- that Hanover went for Clinton 6,561 to 926 or more than seven to one.  This nets to 2,250 drive-by votes for the Democrats.  “Un-counting” these votes gives Ayotte approximately a 1,250 vote victory over Maggie, and cuts Hillary’s margin over Trump to less than 500 votes.

So without even counting the other types of drive-by votes, we can say with certainty that drive-by college voters –out-of-State college students who voted in New Hampshire without an intention of becoming residents of New Hampshire– chose New Hampshire’s United States Senator in 2016.  Indeed, it seems to be common knowledge among college students:

Now let’s turn to a different category of drive-by voter.  The drive-by voter who was allowed to vote despite providing no ID.  From an article by Kevin Landrigan in #DyingPaper (aka Union Leader):

• Qualified affidavits: 440 voters. Nearly all of these 764 citizens signed an affidavit in order to vote on Election Day because they didn’t have or did not want to present a voter ID card prior to casting a ballot. Among this group, 377 did not return a postcard sent to verify their address and the post office reported another 63 postcards could not be delivered to the address given.

Because the Democrats and their surrogates such as the ACLU have frantically opposed all efforts to require voter ID it is reasonable to assume that these votes would split the same way the votes of out-of-State college students split.  It is likely that most of these 440 drive-by votes are Democrat campaign workers who moved temporarily to New Hampshire for the election and left afterwards.  Assuming that only three-quarters of these drive-by voters cast ballots for the Democrats nets 220 votes for the Democrats.  Back out these drive-by votes and Ayotte now has approximately a 1,500 vote victory over Hassan, while Hillary’s margin over Trump has shrunk to just a bit over 250 votes.

Another category of drive-by voter is the voter who gives a phony address:

• Domicile affidavits: 458 voters. These were people who registered to vote and signed an affidavit attesting the address they gave was accurate. There were 6,033 domicile affidavits and of those, 458 were reported as undeliverable to the address that had been given.

These are likely the proverbial “buses from Massachusetts,” out-of-State voters coming into New Hampshire on Election Day.  Using the same conservative 75 percent to 25 percent split, Ayotte’s margin now over 1,700, while Hillary’s margin is down to less than 40 votes.

The numbers show that it is vital that the Legislature gets HB 372 right and that the Governor sign HB 372.  New Hampshire elections should not be decided by out-of-State college students who choose to remain residents of their home-States, or by persons who refuse to present a legitimate ID or by persons who refuse to present legitimate proof of the location of his or her abode.

New Hampshire Fake News Awards

Motivated by this tweet from the President:

I thought I would announce my picks for the most Fake News in #nhpolitics in 2017:

THIRD PLACE:  Casey McDermott for her article on December 5th titled, Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping with Harassment at N.H. State House.  The article detailed horrifying examples of sexual harassment at the New Hampshire State House such as -brace yourself- a lobbyist being asked out on a date:

And Saunders Paquette said one of her female staffers had recently been invited by a male lawmaker to move their policy discussion away from a professional setting and toward dinner or drinks instead.

Even worse -I know it’s hard to believe- other lobbyists had to endure:

… lawmaker staring at them as though he was “undressing [them] with his eyes.”

McDermott’s crack investigative work also exposed an entire “culture of misogyny” at the State House.  Her lead example is that “of the 24 standing committees in the New Hampshire House, 19 are led by men.”  Apparently, McDermott is unaware that the Speaker chooses the Chairs of committees.  So to the extent that having 19 of 24 committees led by men proves a hatred or contempt for women –as opposed to political payback or numerous other non-misogynistic criteria for appointing Chairs– it is the Speaker who is the misogynist.

The bottom line is that McDermott could not come up with a single example of what an objective person would consider sexual harassment or misogyny at the State House, yet wrote an article based on the premise that harassment and misogyny are commonplace at the State House anyway.

SECOND PLACE:  The senior of WMUR’s two #BuckelysBoys, John DiStaso, for his “coverage” of a Democrat State Representative pleading guilty to assaulting a woman during a recount.

The assault occurred during a November 16, 2016 recount for a State Senate seat won by the GOP.  The victim of the assault, Susan Olsen, was present as an observer for the GOP, while Representative Katherine Rogers was present for the Democrat candidate.

Here are excerpts of the coverage from New Hampshire Patch:

In the complaint, Olsen stated that Rogers was challenging many of the ballots and requested that they be put closer to her so she could see them … Rogers put her hand on her shoulder, as if to hug her, stated that she wanted Olsen to be happy, and then struck her. Olsen warned Rogers that if she touched her again, she’d have her arrested and stated that Rogers… replied … “in a low, mocking, angry whisper,” … “Hit me. I know you want to. Go ahead. Hit me.”

After the case was filed Rogers’ attorney – William Christie of Shaheen & Gordon – told media outlets that the incident was a ploy and being played up for political purposes. … Olsen, however, countered that she waited until the end of the legislative session to file the charge in order for it to not be perceived as political. During the investigation by New Hampshire State Police, a witness came forward to corroborate Olsen’s complaint … .

A contingent of elected Democrats and other activists were in attendance to support Rogers including Ray Buckley, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord, … and others.

Contrast Patch’s coverage to the coverage -if it can even be called that- by DiStaso.  He simply posted an “update” -at 11:07 p.m.- to a story that ran back in August.  The “update” merely reported the terms of the guilty plea, followed by this spin from Rogers’ attorney:

Rogers’ attorney told WMUR in a written statement: “During a recount in November 2016, Representative Rogers touched a former Republican representative while they were sitting side by side counting ballots. No complaint was filed at the time of the incident. Six months later the person, a political adversary, filed a complaint with the police. Today, Representative Rogers accepted responsibility for touching the other person without her permission.”

To include only Rogers’ version of events, which are thoroughly inconsistent with the victim’s, is completely unfair and evinces strong bias.  Add to that that there was no mention of the corroborating witness or the presence in court of the Democrat Party Chairman and House Minority Leader.

It is indisputable that if the shoe were on the other foot -if the perpetrator had been a GOP State Representative and the victim a Democrat activist- that DiStaso would have covered it in the opposite manner.  The victim’s version of events would have been front and center while the perpetrator’s would have been excluded or met with extreme skepticism.

Additionally but unsurprisingly, both Ray Buckley and the Democrat House Leader Steve Shurtleff got a pass from DiStaso.  Again, if the shoe were on the other foot the presence of Buckley and Shurtleff in court would have been noted, and they would have been asked why instead of calling for the resignation of a Representative who had plead guilty to assaulting a woman, they were instead putting on a public show of support for that Representative.  And their double-standard of calling for GOP Representatives to resign merely based upon accusations, but not calling upon Democrats to resign after guilty pleas, would have been noted.

FIRST PLACE:  Drum roll please.  And first place -the fakest of the Fake News- goes to Adam Sexton Grady -the other half of WMUR’s #BuckleysBoys- for smearing likely Trump voters as “white supremacists.”

In September, Sexton Grady interviewed Matt Braynard, the executive director of Look Ahead America, an organization created by some former Trump campaign data-gurus whose mission is to “identify patriotic Americans who’ve become disaffected and cynical, so we can engage them on issues relevant to them, get them registered, get them educated and turn them out to vote.”  

“New Hampshire’s going to be, probably, the state we advance to next,” Matt Braynard, Executive Director of Look Ahead America, said. “We’ve identified maybe 15,000 inactive voters who we would consider disaffected, patriotic Americans. And potentially 100,000 or more unregistered adults we’re going to reach out to.”

Following the interview, State Democrat Chair Ray Buckley was soundly taken to task, and deservedly so, for referring to these voters as white supremacists:

“The organizing and activating of these extremists, these white supremacists, really could have a detrimental effect on the entire culture of New Hampshire,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said.

But it was actually Sexton Grady who started the white supremacist slur:

Sexton asked … : “We’ve seen extremism rearing its ugly head lately. What happens if you’re able to identify potential voters but you do see some extremism there – perhaps white supremacism, things like that.

“Is a vote a vote or are you guys going to try to keep those people separate?”

Rather than reporting facts without favor, Sexton Grady instead uses his position at WMUR9 to advance the agenda of the Democrat party, which at this time -shortly after the Charlottesville riots- was to paint President Trump and the GOP generally as supportive of “white supremacists.”

For smearing an entire group of voters, Sexton Grady wins the fakest of the Fake News.