blood in the streets

“If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information…there’ll be riots in the street.”

That was Senator Lindsey Olin Graham of South Carolina. But I’ve been seeing and hearing that sort of idiotic bullshit a lot lately–on the news and in real life. There was a guy at the gym last week–a living caricature of a Trump supporter; overweight and angry, loud and obnoxious–saying much the same thing. He said he was so angry he was “about ready to take up arms.” About ready. Not actually ready to take up arms, but just about ready.

Putting aside the fact that this guy would have probably collapsed in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street, there’s the question of whom he’d take up arms against. In his rant, he mentioned Uncle Joe Biden, Antifa, the DeepStateFBI (yes, it was all one word) and communists. Maybe he meant to take up arms against all of them? Or maybe he thinks they’re all the same group? I don’t know. It was an unhinged, unfocused, unorganized rant.

Is this blood-in-the-streets scenario something we really need to fret about? Well, yes and no. I mean, the 1/6 insurrection is evidence that there are a lot of angry Trumpistas who are willing to use violence to get their way. So yeah, that’s a real concern.

But that anger had focus. Misdirected focus built on lies, true–but there was a focal point. The Capitol Building. Comrade Trump pointed them at the Capitol. It’s entirely possible (assuming Trump gets indicted–and I think he will–and goes to trial–and I’m not so sure about that) that a Trumpista mob would assault the courthouse.

He could riot for maybe half a street.

But as for widespread rioting in the streets? Naw, probably not. Sure, there’ll be pro-Trump protests and some of those will likely turn violent. But the problem with the sort of conspiratorial free-floating rage we see from so many Trumpistas is that it’s undirected. Like the fuckwit at the gym, they’re intensely angry at some vague, nebulous Biden/Antifa/DeepState/commie Bogeyman that doesn’t exist. It’s easy to sustain that sort of anger, but hard to sustain any sort of direct action against vapor. You can’t punch smoke.

But you can punch fascists. If holding Trump accountable for his crimes leads to violence in the streets, then so be it. I’d much rather it didn’t happen, but if it does then it does. It’s a price we may have to pay to resist fascism.

EDITORIAL NOTES: 1) I don’t advocate punching anybody, even if they’re fascists. But if you find yourself on the street and there’s a fascist in front of you doing or saying fascist stuff, DO NOT punch him (it’ll almost certainly be a guy) in the head; heads are mostly bone and you could hurt your hand. Punch him someplace soft. 2) When I described the Trumpista at the gym as being “overweight and angry” and said he’d likely collapse “in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street,” it wasn’t to denigrate fat people. There are fat people who are in really good shape. I’m just describing those armchair warriors who sit around drinking cheap-ass beer and eating bags of Doritos and fantasize about being tough. I probably am denigrating cheap-ass beer, though. Sue me.

yeah, he’ll be indicted

First, a disclaimer. I want this motherfucker to be indicted, tried, convicted, and imprisoned. It’s my opinion he deserves to be indicted, tried, convicted, and imprisoned. It’s my opinion that he’s deserved it for a long time, long before he was POTUS.

Oh, right. Yes, I’m talking about Comrade Trump. It’s important that I include that disclaimer so that you realized I’m biased. I don’t think that bias affects my reasoning about Trump’s criminal liability; most of the jobs I’ve had in my long, semi-wicked life have trained me to evaluate facts and information as objectively as possible. Even when I don’t want to.

So. Trump. I can imagine that he’ll dodge responsibility again. But I think it’s unlikely. Really unlikely. There’s so much evidence that he’s committed multiple felonies — and I’m just talking about the evidence that we know about, not the evidence that almost certainly exists inside the FBI and the DOJ — that I can’t see any way Trump can escape indictment. He may not be tried, convicted, and imprisoned, but he’s got to be indicted.

This is what we KNOW:

  • When he left the White House, Trump took classified material he wasn’t authorized to take (in other words, he stole it).
  • He moved that stuff to Mar-a-Lago and stored it in areas that were unsuitable for storing classified materials.
  • He (or his staff) ‘unfoldered’ some of the classified material (in other words, they removed the cover sheets detailing the level of classification — secret, top secret, ts/sci, etc.) and mixed those documents in with unclassified ‘innocent’ documents (which is a well-known white collar crime tactic designed to muddy the concept of criminal intent).
  • He initially refused to return the classified material to the National Archives when requested.
  • After months of negotiations, he allowed the Archives to collect some of that material.
  • He (and his lawyers) lied and claimed they’d returned ALL the classified material.
  • The FBI got a search warrant and found lots more classified material scattered in various parts of Mar-a-Lago.

That’s what we KNOW. There are three or four felonies in what we KNOW. Even worse, though, is what we can reasonable infer from circumstantial evidence. Given the relatively lax security at Mar-a-Lago AND given Comrade Trump’s well-known disregard for security protocols AND given Trump’s peculiar (and suspicious) affinity for Russia and Vlad Putin AND given Trump’s willingness to put his interests above everything else, we can with some degree of confidence posit that the motherfucker has committed treason — either passively or actively.

We can with some degree of confidence posit that the motherfucker has committed treason.

The most egregious possibility is this unsettling set of facts:

  1. Among the classified material Trump illegally took to Mar-a-Lago were documents regarding HUMINT Control Systems (HCS). That’s clandestine human intelligence — serious spy stuff. We’re talking about activities, capabilities, techniques, processes, and procedures spies use.
  2. A few months after Trump took that material to Mar-a-Lago, there was a ‘covcom’ breach. Covcom refers to the classified covert communications systems used by the CIA. The breach exposed a number of agency assets, especially in China and Iran. A number of informants had to be extracted; others were reportedly captured and executed. US counterintelligence officials warned every CIA station about the breach. Back in October of 2021, the London Times reported the suspicion that there was a ‘super mole’ in the US government betraying CIA assets.

This, of course, is circumstantial evidence. But lawdy, there’s a LOT of circumstances involved, and a long history of those circumstances. Back in January of 2019 I suggested Trump was a Russian intelligence asset. And in July of 2018 I figured Putin had kompromat on Trump. I’m not saying where there’s smoke there’s always fire. But when the smoke has been visible for years, the probability of fire is pretty fucking high.

It bothers me — it offends me — to to even suggest a US president might have knowingly put US intelligence assets at risk. But with Trump, I can’t dismiss the possibility. Let’s not forget that in June of 2020, when we learned Russia had paid a bounty to the Taliban for killing US Marines, Trump responded by…well, ignoring it. It seems clear, he’s not really concerned with the well-being or safety of the people who are putting their lives on the line for the US. So it’s not unthinkable that he could be responsible — knowingly or through gross incompetence — for the ‘covcom’ breach.

So yeah, I want the motherfucker indicted, tried, convicted, and imprisoned. I’m pretty confident he’ll be indicted. As for the rest…I won’t take any bets. That in itself demonstrates how badly Trump has corrupted the US.

house of nope — or my ‘game of thrones’ evolution

At some point in the late 1990s a friend who knew I was skeptical about fantasy fiction passionately suggested I read A Game of Thrones. It was, she said, the first novel in a proposed trilogy, and unlike anything she’d ever read before.

So I read it. And hey, it was good. Even a fantasy fiction skeptic like me could appreciate the unpredictability of the narrative. About a year later, the second novel of the series was published. It was equally good, and I became fully invested in the narrative.

A year after that, the third book–and by then the author, G.R.R. Martin felt the original trilogy would require a fourth book. The story was strong enough that I was willing to wait for a fourth book and the end of the ‘trilogy.’

It was a long wait. Five years. Sure, I had to re-read the first three books to remember what was going on, but I didn’t mind. Except that now Martin was saying the story required six books. At least six. I was less invested in the narrative, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to wait another five years for the fifth book.

House of Nope

It took six years. And I bought it for a couple of reasons. First, why not? I wasn’t as invested in the story itself, but there were characters I loved and I wanted to see what happened to them. Second, HBO was producing a television series based on the novels. I told myself that meant G.R.R. Martin must be about to release the final book(s). Otherwise why would HBO even begin the series? It would be monumentally stupid for them to start filming such an expensive (and expansive) series without having an ending. Right?

I made a conscious decision not to watch the HBO series. I liked the books and I figured the series would be a pale version of the story (let’s face it, the book is almost always better than the movie or television series). I figured I might watch it after I’d read the final book, which I expected to be released in the not-too-distant future.

A couple of years went by. I heard a LOT of friends talking about the series. I decided it couldn’t hurt to watch the first episode. You know, just to confirm that it sucked. Besides, I was almost out of patience waiting for G.R.R. Martin to churn out another book. One episode wouldn’t ruin the books for me.

That first episode? It didn’t suck. It was actually pretty good. I seem to recall there was a lot of gratuitous tits and ass, but that’s what you expect from HBO. In any event, Tyrion was perfect and the cinematography was astonishingly good.

So I started watching the series. Not binge-watching, but every couple of nights I’d watch another episode. I told myself it would be okay, because surely the final book(s) would be published soon. Right? I mean, the series couldn’t continue if the books weren’t finished. Right?

Nope. The series moved beyond the books. The source material had stalled, but the screenwriters–presumably with Martin’s help/approval–continued the story. And…well, it wasn’t as good. There were some amazing battle scenes, and I was still invested in a few of the characters, so I continued to watch. But battle scenes are just that–scenes. Individual scenes don’t move the narrative very far. You have to string a lot of scenes together to create a narrative. The individual character story arcs became simple, almost cartoonish. Everything felt rushed. Some aspects of the show became sort of dumb. In fact, some aspects were completely fucking stupid. Worse, they were stupid without being interesting (yes, it’s possible to be both stupid and interesting at the same time–remember LOST?)

And then the series ended. It ended stupidly, as if the writers had lost interest. As if the writers had given up and just wanted to be done with the whole thing. It wasn’t just that the story resolution was disappointing, it was–and I don’t know how else to put this–it was wrong. It felt wrong. It was cheap.

For those of us who believe passionately in the power of a narrative, there’s no betrayal worse than a resolution that cheapens the narrative. I won’t claim the HBO series was any sort of masterpiece, but it had been good, solid television. Ending it the way they did was like–you remember that 19th century painting Ecce Homo that was ‘restored’ by an elderly amateur? Yeah, that’s how Game of Thrones ended.

Now HBO is producing House of the Dragons, a GoT prequel. G.R.R. Martin apparently signed the deal back in 2018/19, when he was still promising to finish A Game of Thrones. Will the series be any good? I don’t know. And I don’t care. I simply don’t trust either HBO or G.R.R. Martin enough to care. I’ve lost all interest in anything Game of Thrones-related. If Martin ever actually produces a final volume in the book series, I can’t imagine caring enough to read it.

The sad thing is, House of the Dragons has a lot of narrative promise. But we’ve been lied to before.

That said, if HBO would string together a compilation of every scene involving Tyrion and release it as a show, I’d watch the hell out of it. Same for Brienne of Tarth. And Bronn. And of course, Arya Underfoot. Now that would be good television.

House of the Dragon? Fuck that.

the price of being a mook

And by the way, no. No, there’s no “rich debate about whether or not a document is declassified if a president has decided but not communicated it outside of his own head.” Jesus suffering fuck, people. I mean, just listen to yourselves.

Okay, now as I was saying…wait, where was I?

Right, I hadn’t even started yet. Okay, as I was about to say, it’s a job of work being a Trump martyr. I’m thinking about this mook Ricky Shiffer. You know, the MAGA fuckwit who decided to start the War Against the Deep State by attacking an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio. First, you’re never going to make it to the Martyr Hall of Fame if your name is Ricky. Ricky is a fine name for a second baseman on a minor league team or the regional manager for a company that sells convenience store snack cakes. But not for a martyr. Rick would have been okay. Richard would work. But Ricky? Never gonna happen.

Second, Cincinnati? It’s a fine city, no mistake, with wonderful architecture, some very fine sports teams, the home of a truly great ice cream (Graeter’s black raspberry chocolate chip is exquisite) and a rich history of riverboats exporting pork products. But it’s not on the list of Best Places to Take the Fight to the Deep State. Cincinnati is where you’d go if you want to start a War on Decent Chili (oh lawdy, they do terrible things to chili there), but if you’re going to take on the FBI, then really, look elsewhere.

Third, it’s really hard to be a martyr for Comrade Trump. I mean really, really, REALLY hard. It’s hard on account of if you’re an ordinary white working stiff with a history of making racist and violence statements and you commit a crime for Trump, you’ll be almost immediately written off BY OTHER MAGA FUCKWITS as a Deep State stooge.

Ricky Shiffer said all the right MAGA things, just like MAGA Republicans in Congress. He said the FBI was a threat, they were the enemy of the people, they were corrupt thugs, the people have to fight back, the FBI must be destroyed. He echoed the GOP establishment. Only he apparently actually believed what they were saying. He followed through. Not effectively, but he acted on what almost every Republican was saying. And now?

Ricky Shiffer — not a martyr, just a mook.

Now Ricky Shiffer is considered a ‘crisis actor’. Now his attack on the FBI is seen as a false flag incident. Ricky Shiffer died stupidly, in a corn field, wearing body armor, thinking he would be a martyr, an example to his fellow ‘patriots’. Now his fellow ‘patriots’ are accusing him of being Antifa. Here’s a smattering of comments from FreeRepublic:

I suspect this is an FBI operation given the blow-back from a lot of people on both sides with the raid on Trump’s home. — by CFW

FBI asset, BLM, or Antifa? — by mass55th (“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~~ John Wayne )

This isn’t a coincidence. This was timed for today. We’re going to see these RAT antics every day from now until election day. — by FlingWingFlyer (The House is supposed to represent the people, not the friggin’ Federal government. )

Right, this doesn’t pass the smell test. — by pacificus

Almost certainly, they murdered the CI/patsy they paid to do it. Until evidence to the contrary turns up, I will assume ALL attacks on the FBI or any other Federal agency are 100% false flag attacks. — by backwoods-engineer (Hold on, y’all, 2022 is going to be a ride you won’t soon forget!)

They used the stooge, then killed him for his efforts. — by TheElectionWasStolen

Stevie Wonder could have seen that a false flag was incoming. — by Cowgirl of Justice

FalseFlag — by joma89 (Buy weapons and ammo, folks, and have the will to use them.)

Odds are, Ricky Shiffer won’t be the last mook to take up arms for the delusional cause of Comrade Trump. Violent, threatening rhetoric is a staple of the GOP diet and Trump’s followers are eating it up as avidly as ducks devouring cracked corn. I’m not convinced there’ll be a January 6th Only With Guns, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened. And if/when it does, the mooks who join in will be characterized by the mooks who didn’t as false flag crisis actors.

It’s the price of being a Trump mook.

it’s not rocket science

It’s been a while since I’ve dipped my toes in the fetid fever swamp of FreeRepublic. I was curious to see how they were responding to the FBI executing a search warrant on Comrade Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort/home while Trump his ownself was up in Communist NYC taking the Fifth Amendment in a civil fraud suit.

There were a few surprises. For example, I expected to see a lot of posts claiming the FBI had ‘planted’ incriminating documents in Mar-a-Lago. That’s been a common theme on FOX News, after all. But there was very little of that. I was also surprised to see a small but persistent group of Freepers who were seriously concerned about the gravity of the situation. They supported Trump, of course, but were disturbed by the accusations that he’d taken and kept classified documents in his golf club. They felt it was irresponsible. The Freepers in this group were always accused by the majority of being ‘woke leftists’ who were, deliberately or not, undermining Trump.

Many Freepers simply dismissed the entire matter, either as ‘fake news’ or political theater by Democrats meant to disrupt the mid-term elections.

“Given the FISA fraud, 2 nonsense impeachments, and the blind eye given leftists, I consider any charge against Trump to be baseless and solely politically motivated.”
by fruser1

Other Freepers found the matter confusing–not the claims made by the FBI and the DOJ, but the motivations of Trump opponents. They could NOT understand why anybody would deliberately want to oppose President Donald J. Trump. It just didn’t make sense to them.

“At least they unsealed the warrant so Trump knows what he’s up against. It’s still weird that they’re coming after Trump before he’s even announced his 2024 run, before he’s any kind of threat to their agenda. Generally law enforcement only spends this kind of effort on career criminals. That obviously isn’t the case with Trump so I don’t know what they’re playing at.”
by FormerFRLurker

Who can possibly understand why the FBI would even consider searching Trump’s home for classified documents? It’s ridiculous. It’s crazyworld.

It’s just the FBI; it’s not rocket science.

But most Freepers clearly believed the ‘raid’ on Mar-a-Lago was an attack directed at Trump his ownself. Why? Because 1) the work left hates him and/or 2) they’re terrified he’s about to expose them for what they ‘really’ are. (SPOILER: what they are, apparently, is evil pedophile god-hating communists.)

“It doesn’t make sense why they are so obsessed with destroying him unless he himself presented a huge threat to them BEYOND being elected POTUS again.
Think about it, when he was in office he didn’t go after them, he even let Hillary walk after the collusion hoax. So why are they still after him? Because they are terrified of something he has! A list, and I think it involves kids, pedophilia.”
by GrandJediMasterYoda (As long as Hillary Clinton remains free, the USA will never have equal justice under the law).

“Gore, Biden, Garland, Obama, both Clintons – they’re all in this together. The thought of targeting a political opponent with imprisonment is pure evil.”
by Observator

“The Left MUST STOP him BEFORE he announces….there must be an INDICTMENT…..they KNOW he’s totally innocent, but they DESPISE him because they are EVIL, VILE, LYING DESTROYERS of GOOD PEOPLE and GOOD THINGS!”
by Ann Archy (Abortion……. The HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)

Evil, vile, lying destroyers of good people and things always go after innocent people like D.J. Trump. It’s not clear to me why, if Trump has information proving so many woke leftists are evil pedophile god-hating communists, he hasn’t published it, but apparently he’s waiting for the right moment. (Tangent: another Freeper explained that the hate of these wicked Leftists is exactly why there hasn’t been anything good on television since Gunsmoke was canceled in 1975.)

There was also a large contingent of Freepers with a vast knowledge of the nuances and subtleties involved in of the process of classifying and declassifying sensitive documents, knowledge they’d gained through intensive study over the last day or so. Having familiarized themselves with these nuances and subtleties, they universally agreed the nuances and subtleties weren’t that important, and could just fuck right off.

“The president doesn’t have to write up anything. He can wave his hands over the documents and say, ‘Presto! Declassified.’ Why is that so hard to grasp? The president is the ultimate consumer of all the classified information, and as the head of the executive answers to no one else within the executive. This is not rocket science.”
by curious7

It’s hard to argue with that. Waving presidential hands over documents is deffo NOT rocket science. I mean, you know, there might be some top secret, compartmentalized documents that involve science–and maybe even rockets–but overall, it’s not even remotely rocket science. So the opinions of FBI rocket scientists can be dismissed out of hand.

Rocket science has no place in FreeRepublic.

stuff is happening

Three things, in reverse order.

Third, the FBI seized the cell phone of Congressman Scott Perry. This is what Perry his ownself had to say about it.

“This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone. They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish.”

Dude, c’mon; the FBI just didn’t want to give you the chance to destroy whatever evidence you probably have stashed on your phone.

Now, you may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, just who in the buttered popcorn fuck is this Scott Perry of whom you speak?” Perry is your basic MAGA fuckwit of the Pennsylvania variety. He had a successful military career, then went into business. While a businessman, he was criminally charged with conspiring to falsify state-mandated sewage records (no, I’m NOT making that up). But because he was a white corporate Republican donor, he was “allowed to complete a diversion program” which let him skate without a criminal conviction. I’m not saying his criminal history helped his political career, but PA voters went and made him a Member of Congress anyway. In Congress, he became a big hat in Comrade Trump’s attempts to steal the election. He was instrumental in the attempt to install Jeffrey Clark as Attorney General, and he was a proponent of the Dominion voting machine conspiracy theory. He was also one of the GOP members of Congress who explicitly requested a pardon after the 1/6 coup failed. (SPOILER: he didn’t get one.)

So yeah, the FBI wanted his cell phone and they didn’t want to take the chance that Perry might accidentally drop his phone in a wood chipper. I mean, they almost certainly already know what’s on his phone (that’s how they justify a search warrant), but having the instrument of criminality right in your hands is a LOT more compelling when presented to a jury in a criminal trial. So Perry, who was ignored by Trump during his Pardon-O-Rama, might feel a wee bit less loyal now. I’m sure the 1/6 Committee is anxious to chat with him. So, good times ahead.

Second, today Comrade Trump finally had to testify UNDER OATH during a deposition by the NY Attorney General, who is investigating Trump’s business practices. She’s looking into allegations of fraud. Trump TOOK THE FIFTH and refused to answer questions. Just to be clear, the Fifth Amendment can be invoked when somebody (like Trump) believes a truthful answer would incriminate them. This is a civil matter, not a criminal matter, BUT unlike a criminal case, taking the Fifth in a civil case allows a judge or jury to make the appropriate inference (SPOILER: which is that the motherfucker is guilty). So, more good times ahead.

“Do I have to answer that question? I don’t want to answer that question.”

But first, hey bingo, the FBI’s unannounced warranted search of Mar-a-Lago. Obviously, we don’t know WHY the FBI showed up and went rifling through Trump’s stuff. All we know for certain is that the FBI gave a judge enough information for the judge to believe that a specific crime had taken place, and that evidence of that crime could be found in fairly specific places in Trump’s resort/home. At this point, we don’t know what was in the affidavit supporting the search warrant. And it would be unwise for us to speculate.


If it was small beans–like, say, Trump or his aides had failed to return documents that rightly belonged in the National Archives–it seems likely that Trump or one of his many attorneys would release the search warrant. They have the authority to do that.

They haven’t. Which suggests to me that it’s not small beans. The fact that this happened a couple of days ago, but no reporter seems to have been able to get somebody in the FBI or DOJ to leak even a hint of the underlying crime alleged in the search warrant also, to me, suggests it’s not small beans. There IS, however, some reporting indicating that somebody dropped a dime on Trump–that somebody was aware a serious crime had happened or was about to happen.

It seems improbable (to me, at any rate) that this would be related to Trump’s attempted coup. I mean, we basically know the fact pattern of that crime, and the 1/6 Committee very likely already has all the critical documentary evidence they need. So why would the FBI feel the need to act quickly? And why isn’t Trump releasing the search warrant?

I’m speculating like a motherfucker here, BUT I’m thinking the boxes of documents the FBI seized included stuff that foreign governments would love to get their hands on. And I’m thinking Trump, being Trump, not only took classified shit that didn’t belong to him, that he had no right to take, also couldn’t be bothered to keep that classified shit safe from all the MAGA assholes and foreign visitors who wander around Mar-a-Lago.

And that, oh my droogs, is a BIG fucking crime under Title 18, Chapter 37 of the US Code. And now you’re wondering, “Greg, old sock, what is this Chapter 37 bidness?” I’m about to tell you.

18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 – ESPIONAGE

This isn’t to say Comrade Trump is a spy, or even that he (or somebody near him, like, say Jared Pencilneck) is/was planning to sell classified documents. It just means that Trump possessed classified shit that didn’t belong to him, that he had no right to have in his possession, and that he wasn’t protecting it.

Again, this is just me speculating. And in the interest of honesty, I should also remind you that I also speculated that there was no way in hell that Donald Trump could ever be elected President of the United States. So my speculating record isn’t exactly stellar.

Oh, and stop calling me ‘old sock.’

what i need

I went to the market to buy beer. I was wandering up and down the aisle, looking at all the local and near-local craft beers, and one of the employees looked at me, smiled, and asked, “Whaddaya need?”

What do I need?

I need some relief from the heat. I need a rain shower. I need a thunderstorm. I need to feel that storm. I need thunder and lightning. I need to go outside in the storm in all my clothes, outside in the wind and the rain, and get soaking wet. I need to run around and around the house barefooted in the thunderstorm, like I used to do as a kid (to my momma’s horror). I need to be able to run again, run like I could when I was 16 years old and still had knees that worked. I need to run and jump like a pagan in a storm. I need to run through the woods at night. I need to be alone in someplace very big and very wild. I need to feel the tension of being near a large, wild animal, holding my breath, trying to be still so it won’t know I’m there. I need to leap over bonfires. I need to leap over stone fences. I need to run and scream in wild delight and know that I’m still part of a natural world where wonderful and awful things can and will happen.

What do I need?

I told him I needed a simple summer lager from a semi-local craft brewery. Or maybe a local ale. Something that could hold its own against a sandwich made with provolone, ham, prosciuttini, cappacuolo, salami, and pepperoni.

I left with a six-pack of Backpocket Brewery’s Tipsy in Tijuana and a four-pack of Mistress Brewing’s Daisy Ale.

inert, but lethal

I confess, I’m fascinated by military tech. Always have been. It’s awful, of course. So much military tech is about killing people, and, well, you know—killing people, by and large, is pretty much wrong, right? Yeah.

And yet, there it is; I’m still intrigued by military technology. I mention this because over the weekend the US, at the order of President Uncle Joe, killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda. They killed him with a modified Hellfire missile fired by a Predator drone (and yeah, there’s a whole deeply weird, perverse taxonomy at work here—a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone). They killed him “as he stepped onto the balcony of a safe house in Kabul.”

Him. Just him. Just al-Zawahiri. Nobody else. No so-called ‘collateral damage’.

They were able to do that because the Department of Defense, in conjunction with the CIA and engineers from Lockheed Martin, modified an AGM-114 Hellfire missile and turned it into an AGM-114 RX9—basically a hundred-pound laser-guided Ginsu Knife Bomb. Instead of explosives, this missile has—and I’m NOT making this up—six sword-like blades that pop out of the sides of the missile moments before it strikes the target (and by ‘target’ I mean ‘the person the CIA really seriously no-shit wants to kill’).

Smaller than a six-foot-tall human (not sure why that’s important).

The idea, of course, is to limit the number of casualties. Most versions of Hellfire missiles involve explosives, which are notoriously indiscriminate. When shit blows up, anybody in the blast radius is going to get fucked up. That’s a problem. I mean, if the person the CIA really want to kills is, says, standing on a balcony in Kabul and you fire an explosive weapon at him, you’re going to see a lot of kinetic damage to the building and anybody in it (and anybody near it). Kinetic damage is a nice way of saying blown the fuck up.

When a hundred pounds of inert steel with half a dozen blades hits a target on a balcony, the damage is significantly more limited.

Okay, maybe not a Toyota—I dunno. But still.

This missile is so precise that it can target a specific side of a moving vehicle. When the CIA decided to kill Abu Khayr al-Masri, who was riding in the passenger seat of a Toyota (okay, I’m not certain it was a Toyota) the missile hit the passenger side of the Toyota. And yeah, it also killed the driver, because we’re still talking about a hundred pounds of metal WITH a half dozen sword blades flying at mach 1.3, so it’s not like the driver could duck and escape. And sure, anybody in the back seat probably got dinged up and will very likely require years of serious therapy. But still, that’s better than a fucking explosion, right?

Let’s face it. The Hellfire AGM-114 RX9 is a monstrous weapon. We should look on it with horror. And yet, I’m fascinated by it. I have deep, contradictory feelings about the US (or any nation, for that matter) conducting extra-judicial assassinations. But I also think terrorists like Ayman al-Zawahiri (and yeah, he was a terrorist) can’t be allowed to roam around free to plot acts of terror. Given the option, I’d prefer they get a fair trial and, if convicted of a crime, incarcerated. But that wasn’t really an option, was it. So I’m perversely glad that some heinous engineers put this Ninja Ginsu missile together.

What was it Walt Whitman said about containing multitudes?