Saturday, March 17, 2018

On Andrew McCabe

So, Andrew McCabe.

As best I can work out from the news, Andrew McCabe authorized the release of some information about the investigation into Hillary Clinton during the election. This was, apparently, something he had authority to do. He then reportedly showed "lack of candor" during the subsequent investigation by the Inspector General, which was what led to his firing yesterday.

The firing might have been justified, it might not have been. It's impossible to say without seeing the IG's report, which hasn't been released.

What can be said is that Donald Trump has had a hard-on for McCabe for months now, 1. because McCabe corroborated James Comey's damaging statements on Donald Trump in the obstruction investigation in front of the House Intel Committee, and 2. because Trump apparently believes McCabe is a pro-Clinton plant, due to his wife running for office as a Democrat.


What can also be said is that Andrew McCabe was fired for lack of honesty, by an Attorney General who perjured himself in front of Congress, under the apparent direction of a President who lies to the American people on average four times a day. He has been denied his pension while Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI while he was part of the Trump administration, continues to draw his.

McCabe's firing came on the same day that House Democrats revealed letters from a whistleblower alleging an effort by Trump administration officials to purge the State Department of career employees out of fear that they were secret Obama loyalists.


And it has been followed by statements from Trump which just about confirm that McCabe's firing was retaliation for his statements supporting Comey's testimony.



And that has been followed by Trump's lawyer, on behalf of the White House (until it wasn't), calling for an end to Robert Mueller's probe into Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, and God knows what other crimes.

Regardless of whether McCabe deserved to be fired fast enough to deny a 21 year FBI veteran his pension, after what by all accounts were years of distinguished service, is almost beside the point when the sitting President is so grossly, obviously attacking a witness in a case that puts that same President in legal jeopardy.

Donald Trump is unfit for office. And I hope yesterday's naked cruelty is part of what finally brings him down.

Below: Andrew McCabe's statement on his firing.



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

After Ragnarok (Spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok)

Hela awoke in pain.

The right side of her body was in agony, every nerve and muscle screaming in torment. She gritted her teeth and forced herself to sit up. That simple movement nearly caused her to lose consciousness, but she was Hela, and her will was strong.

She looked down, and a hiss escaped her teeth at what she saw. The half of her had been burned to the bone, and what was left of her flesh and muscle looked like cooked meat. She raised her right arm, forcing near-skeletal fingers to flex and form a closed fist. Satisfied, she called a sword and used it to prop herself up onto her feet.

She looked around for the first time, taking stock of her surroundings. The landscape was blasted and filled with a sulfurous reek. A poor showing for Asgard, she thought.

She remembered Surtur driving his blade down, the last attempt to dodge the enormous flaming sword as it bit home. Obviously less than successful, but that was of no consequence. She lived, and she was Hela, and she stood on Asgardian soil. That would be enough.

Hela closed her eyes and drew upon Asgard's power, willing herself whole again.

Her eyes flew open when nothing happened.

This was not Asgard!

She sought around herself, and now the landscape became clearer. A blasted wasteland, yes, and a very familiar one.

She was back. Back in the hell that Allfather Odin had banished her to, so many millennia ago.

She reached out instinctively, her senses questing for the weak point that she had found, that had granted her her freedom, her kingdom, her empire, everything that was rightfully hers... and found nothing.

Was she too weak? Or was that door simply gone, as if it had never been? Impossible to tell.

Hela raged. She screamed, cursing all the gods, her family most of all. She struck the ground, splintered sword after sword. And when she had nothing left she fell to her knees.

All of her rage was futile. Nothing she did had the slightest effect.

Of course not.

She was Hela, but she did not live.

And this was no Valhalla.

For the first time in her long existence, Hela suffered a single tear to fall from her eye.

Behind her, something chuffed.

Hela turned her head and felt a hot breath on her healthy skin as Fenris Wolf licked her face. She reached up and stroked the great wolf's muzzle, joy and astonishment lightening the weight of her despair. It looked at her with its old eyes, the glint of the Eternal Flame no longer present.

She rose to her feet again, and looked behind Fenris. Ranks of soldiers stood there, soldiers she recognized. The Einharjar of her youth, the warriors who had pledged to her above all others and followed her in defiance of the Allfather. They were dead, as she was dead, but their swords were sharp and their armor was strong.

As one, they put their fists to their breasts, and bowed to her.

Hela stood in the reeking waste and she smiled.

This was no Valhalla.

But perhaps it could be better.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Excuse Me While I Rage The Fuck Out

I'm angry this morning, ladies and gentlemen, and I'm angry because after two of his White House staff were forced to resign their positions for beating their wives, Donald Trump, who is President of the United States, posted this:

Ignore Assange's bullshit please.
If you don't know why I'm pissed let me recap real quick:

- Donald Trump's first wife testified under oath that he raped her.

- Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen women.

- Multiple witnesses confirm Donald Trump made a habit of walking in on underage girls in their changing rooms when he ran beauty pageants.

- A woman sued Donald Trump for raping her at the age of 13. And this lawsuit was brought during Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

It's bad enough that Donald Trump is taking the side of men who abused their wives, one of which there is photographic evidence of. But for this festering orange shitgibbon to complain about due process and ruined careers after he's not only avoided any culpability for his own crimes, but managed to get elected to the highest office in the land, makes me so Goddamn mad that I don't have the words to process it.

And to anyone who voted for him: don't pretend you didn't know. Everyone knew this fucker is a sexual predator. And you decided you were okay with that as long as he got rid of the immigrants and pissed off the Democrats. So fuck you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Stopgap

Read the news this morning, gotta blog.

So a government shutdown is pending. No one wants it. Republicans know they'll get blamed for it, regardless of their bluster, and Democrats just generally don't like shutting the government down.

Maybe Trump wants it, but who can trust what he says?

So there's a deal the Republican leadership has in place to kick the can down the road again for a month. The deal includes funding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 6 years, and delays some taxes in ACA that aren't particularly popular.

Now normally this would not be a terrible deal. It cuts taxes for awhile and funds a key, popular program past the point where Trump can possibly fuck it up. But we do not live in normal times.

There are a lot of Republican factions that hate the deal. Defense hawks are adamant that Congress can't keep the military on continuing resolution (CR) spending (read: month to month) and are opposed to any short-term deal. The Freedom Caucus is demanding more tax cuts and are being dicks as usual. So there's a fair chance that Paul Ryan might not be able to pass a bill without Democratic support.

On the Democrat side, there's a lot of pressure to address DREAMers in a spending bill. Right now, they have a lot of leverage to get that done, but that might not be the case in February. And it's tricky for them to oppose a CR that funds CHIP.

So the first hurdle is if the House Republicans can pass the CR on their own. If they can't, it's not clear Pelosi will be able to hold her caucus to oppose it - it'll probably depend on the margin Ryan needs to push it through.

Either way, Democrats will have to help pass the CR through the Senate with 9 votes. And there are enough Democrats in red states to make shutting the government down over DREAMers a dicey proposition.

And Trump could blow the whole thing up, of course.

So, my take:

Most likely the CR will pass with both sides declaring a small win and lambasting the other for playing politics. CHIP is a big sweetener.

But, that assumes Ryan can get his team together. House Republican politics are ugly and averse to compromise, and Ryan knows he'll get shitcanned out of the Speaker slot in short order if he starts going to the minority for help. If he doesn't, I give 50/50 odds Pelosi refuses to bail him out without significant payment, and Ryan definitely won't go that route.

If the CR makes it to the Senate, I have no doubt it will pass. And if it goes to Trump's desk for signature I don't doubt he'll sign it; or if he doesn't, the Democrats might vote to override him out of sheer pique.

All of this of course overlooks the fact nothing being debated here should be controversial in a sane and rational society. But we've got what we've got. God knows what February (or the debt ceiling!) will bring.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Frank Drowns In His Own Blood

This synopsis is a coping method for oral surgery I have coming up at the end of the week, also an excuse for Danny DeVito or a willing impersonator to swallow more fake blood than is probably good for them. It is available for sale to anyone who wants to produce something with it. Very reasonable rates, not even Green Man rates. Just use the contact form and keep it short because that #$!@ing form screws up everything.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA

Paddy's Pub
8:01 a.m.
On a Tuesday

The Gang is back on their bullshit when Frank enters and immediately starts taking shots. Under questioning he explains that he's got to go to the dentist and he needs to get good and wasted first. Charlie warns Frank away from dentistry in general, claiming it's all a scam and that dentists murder their patients. Mac reminds him about the time Charlie started pulling his own teeth out "like Goddam popcorn kernels" but Charlie's adamant, and the Tooth Fairy gave him five bucks a pop. Dennis wants to explore that but Charlie blows him off to tell Frank not to go to the dentist. Frank admonishes him, it's a routine cleaning, what could go wrong?

TITLE CARD: Frank Drowns In His Own Blood

Later, in the pub. Frank is gone. Sweet Dee enters the bar excitedly and shows the Gang an open audition for models for a dental advertisement. Dennis wonders how a giant bird with no teeth can make the audition. Mac reminds Dee that she's a crackhead and her teeth have to be terrible, which Dee and Dennis both take offense to. Mac stands by his argument and opines that his "superior dentition" would make him the perfect candidate.

Dentist's office. Frank's getting examined by a hot dentist because of course he found one. He hits on her, she hooks the shit out of his gums, notices that he still has his wisdom teeth. "Of course I kept them, they're mine. I should give them to some little shit in Somalia?" The dentist lets that pass but informs Frank that all four of the teeth are cracked and impacted. He's gonna need surgery.

A pharmacy. Dee and Dennis are looking for whitening products and anything else to make their teeth look good, to put Mac in his place. They bullshit over the various options and ask the pharmacist what they should use. The pharmacist, who has no time for them at all, recommends a bleach rinse. Dee tells her to piss off but Dennis tells her to reconsider, saying that if a respected chemist is recommending it it might have merit.

Charlie's apartment. Frank comes in ready to bunk in for the night and tells Charlie about his surgery tomorrow. Charlie freaks out and begs Frank not to do it, he'll die! But Frank blows him off and hits the shitter. Charlie whispers to himself "I won't let you die Dad. Frank."

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Charlie's apartment the next morning. Frank wakes up spewing blood all over the bed and freaks out thinking he's dying. Charlie wakes up and explains that he did Frank a favor by yanking his teeth out in the middle of the night. Frank goes off between spit tanks, especially when Charlie shows him the teeth. They're not even close to the right ones.

Dee's apartment. Dee's getting ready to try the bleach rinse idea. Dennis hypes her up for it. Dee slugs the bleach and immediately spews it out cursing. Dennis laughs, saying he knew it wouldn't work but he wanted to see if Dee would do it. Dee chews him out. Dennis suggests a great way he knows to improve their dental hygiene, because it makes their teeth feel all tingly and leaves them grinning tightly: crack. Dee's on board.

Outside Charlie's apartment. Mac pulls up in his car wearing ridiculous dental headgear. Charlie asks for a ride to the hospital as Frank continues spitting up blood, which is why they can't get a cab. Mac's not cool with the idea and asks why they can't call an ambulance. Charlie explains they won't come out anymore because Frank called too many times for rat bites. Mac forces Frank to lay his shirt on the seat before he gets in.

The audition office. Dennis and Dee are loaded on crack and wearing crazed fixed grins. They try to sell themselves as new talent but the guy running things explains that he's looking for people to get dental X-rays for a class. After a beat Dennis and Dee ask how much it pays - $50 a head. Dennis and Dee declare that's beneath them and storm out, haranguing the poor guy for lying.

The hospital. Dennis and Dee are walking out, admitting that it did seem odd the audition was being held in a hospital. Frank staggers into the shot and falls to the floor, screaming that he's drowning in his own blood. The Gang regards him in the spreading pool of blood - nobody wants to touch him and they're in a hospital, right? Might as well bail, he'll be fine. Dennis, Dee and Mac exit, Dee asks what the hell Mac is wearing. Charlie lingers while Frank begs for help. "Yeah Frank you know I'm gonna go find someone to pick you up I'll be right back" and Charlie leaves to put Frank's teeth down for the Tooth Fairy.

ROLL CREDITS