idea for a hunter biden screenplay

FADE IN

STRIP MALL COMPUTER REPAIR SHOP — APRIL — DAY

A gotch-eyed, legally blind man, JOHN PAUL MAC ISAAC, stands behind a counter, peering through thick lenses at disassembled computer hardware. The door to the shop CHIMES. A PERSON enters. From MAC ISAAC POV we see a blurry figure approach the counter.

PERSON
Greetings, comrade. I have laptop. Is damaged. You can recover data, yes?

MAC ISAAC
Sure, I can do that.

PERSON
Data is chastnyy. How you say…private? Boring email. Family photo. Not of interest.

MAC ISAAC
Okay.

PERSON
You keep laptop, recover data. I return soon, pay you.

MAC ISAAC
Absolutely. I just need your name.

PERSON
Menya zovut Hunter. Hunter Biden.

STRIP MALL COMPUTER REPAIR SHOP — DECEMBER — DAY

MAC ISAAC stands at the counter of his computer repair shop, holding an external hard drive in his hand.

MAC ISAAC
How very odd. It’s been eight months and Hunter Biden has not returned to collect his laptop. What shall I do? Should I contact Hunter Biden and remind him? Oh, I know! I’ll make a copy of the hard drive and…and give it to Rudy Giuliani!

getting shit done

Here’s the problem one of the countless problems with the modern Republican Party: they’ve completely abandoned the idea that the purpose of government is to get shit done.

They say they want shit done, but they’re not willing to engage in the process required to get it done. I suspect some of them mean it when they say, “There’s shit we need to get done.” But there’s a hefty chunk of the GOP that actively interferes with getting shit done simply so they can blame President Uncle Joe for failing to get shit done. They love telling everybody “Shit that needs to get done is NOT getting done, BUT if you elect us, we’ll do all kinds of shit.” Except, of course, when they get the power and authority to get shit done, they…well, they shit the bed.

We’re witnessing that right now in the food fight over electing a Speaker of the House. The most telling (and probably least discussed) aspect of this fuckparade is the simple fact that apparently nobody in the Republican House can count votes. Each of the political parties in Congress has a semi-formal position called a Party Whip. The job of the Whip is 1) to find out how members are going to vote, and 2) to try to ensure they vote the way the party wants them to vote. Right now, ain’t nobody in the House GOP doing that. Nobody seems to have reliable information on how many people are going to vote for or against Kevin McCarthy for Speaker.

Electing a Speaker of the House

As I write this, the House is getting ready for the 7th attempt to elect a Speaker of the House. With any normal political party, this would be a formality. It’s been a formality for around a century. With any normal political party, there wouldn’t BE a vote until the party was certain they had the votes necessary to win. A normal political party would want to elect a leader who’d demonstrated strength of purpose, personal integrity, strong policy views. But the modern GOP isn’t a normal political party; the man most of them want to be their leader has cravenly given in to the threats of the GOP’s most extreme elements. He’s demonstrated a moral and ethical flexibility that offends both his supporters and his opponents. Kevin McCarthy stands for nothing other than a desire to be Speaker of the House.

Here’s a True Thing: governance is about getting shit done. It’s about the dull, grinding, detailed work of talking to people you disagree with and finding ways to compromise. The modern GOP isn’t willing to do that. The modern GOP isn’t capable of that. If the Republicans, as the majority party in the House, aren’t even able to elect a leader, they’re certainly not going to be able to get any meaningful shit done.

The modern GOP is more focused on doing shit TO others than in getting shit done. They’ve ceased to be a political party; now they’re basically acting as an incubator for future Fox News hosts and right-wing media darlings.

It’s going to be a long, long two years in Congress. Assuming the House ever manages to elect a Speaker.

a regular intruder drill

“We thought it was just a regular intruder drill. But when we started hearing sirens outside and the teachers started to even get scared, then we knew that this wasn’t just a regular drill and it was real.”

A regular intruder drill. Three people, including the shooter, are dead. But students thought it was just one of their regular intruder drills. At least eight people have been transported to local hospitals. So, NOT just a regular intruder drill.

The fact that a high school in St. Louis, Missouri even HAS regular intruder drills is an indictment of US politics. It’s an indictment of the Republican Party. It’s an indictment of American gun culture. But given the horrific reality that there have been at least 545 mass shootings THIS YEAR in the US, then yeah, regular intruder drills are probably needed. Because the GOP is sure as fuck not going to let anybody do anything about the guns.

The GOP and the NRA will argue we need to arm teachers. The St. Louis school had SEVEN security officers INSIDE the school, but some 20-year-old asshole still managed to wander in toting some sort of long gun (and will anybody be surprised if we learn it was some AR-15 variant?). But hey, most of the 545 mass shootings this year DID NOT take place at schools. Maybe we also need to arm cashiers at the supermarkets. Maybe we need to arm receptionists and the kid who puts your burrito together and the person who passes the collection plate at church. Because guns make us safe?

Following the shooting, the mayor, Tishaura Jones, texted “Help us, Jesus.” Jesus ain’t gonna help us. You might as well call on Thor to help us. Prayer doesn’t do shit to stop a bullet. But you can be assured the GOP will be calling for thoughts and prayers, and holding out their hands for the NRA to donate to their campaigns.

You know what would help? Making it harder to buy guns. That would help. Making it illegal to wander around the streets openly carrying a rifle or shotgun, that would help. Open carry of long guns in public is completely unregulated in Missouri. This shooter would have been legally able to walk right up the school doors openly toting his gun, and that would be just fine with the GOP. That’s just fucking crazy, right there.

Even if the US Congress passed some minimal firearm legislation (which, hey, they did), it wouldn’t help. Why? Because in 2021 the Missouri GOP passed what they called the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA). This specifically prohibits state and local law enforcement officials from enforcing federal gun policies. Hell, SAPA even punishes state and local police officers for trying to enforce federal gun laws.

In fact, more than 1,200 jurisdictions (state, county, municipal) in 37 states have adopted some form of resolution or law restricting local law enforcement from enforcing federal laws IF they feel those laws violate the Second Amendment. Want to guess which political party pushed for that?

Republicans are simply willing to sacrifice children to protect the gun lobby’s shaky interpretation of an amendment written 230 years ago. An amendment written at a time when there were no police and no standing army in the US. A time when there was open conflict between settlers and the native peoples whose territory they were intruding upon. A time when the most common firearms were muskets capable of firing a single round (maybe three rounds per minute) and with a maximum accuracy range of around 50 yards.

If the St. Louis shooter had an AR-15 variant, even without any training, he could easily fire at least 30 rounds per minute, probably closer to 60, with a lot more accuracy. The Second Amendment, as it was written in 1791, simply doesn’t address modern killing tech.

What happened in St. Louis today wasn’t a regular intruder drill. Sadly, it was just a regular school shooting, around the 40th school shooting this year (we average about one a week–and let me just say that again, this year we averaged about one school shooting every fucking week). Unless a couple more people die, it’s not even a mass murder.

It’s just another day in America.

the power to kill conversation

— So, did you see where Trump tweeted that the Queen had knighted him in secret and he didn’t tell anybody?
— Fake.
— Well, yeah, of course it is. Wait, hold on…
— What?
— Are you saying it’s fake that Trump was knighted in secret? Or that the tweet itself is fake?
— See, this is what Trump has done. He’s fucked with the entire notion of capital T Truth. Now we can’t even have a conversation because we have to stop and do reality checks on stuff that ought to be obvious, but isn’t anymore. Because everything is nuts.
— Well, yeah, but…wait, what?
— The tweet is…and, I mean it’s not even a ‘tweet’ is it, since the fucker got himself kicked off Twitter.
— Yeah, but calling it a ‘Truth’ is so fuckin’ stupid that I can’t bring myself to do it.
— Agreed, so okay, we’ll call it a tweet even though it’s not.
— Okay, good. Where were we?
— We were at ‘what’s fake’.
— Right. Continue.


— The tweet itself is fake. And the fake tweet’s claim is fake as well.
— It’s a lie in a lie, yeah. But it’s also the sort of boneheaded stupid lie that Trump might actually make in the hope that somebody might think it’s true. I mean, it’s possible to believe it would be true for Trump to make that sort of lie.
— Yes. Maybe? I think you’re right, if I understood what you said.
— I’m saying ‘The Queen made me a knight in secret and I didn’t tell anybody’ is sort of believable as a lie that Trump would tell.
— …
— Right?
— I’m still working through that.
— …
— Yeah, okay. Yes. I’m pretty sure I agree with that. What was the original question?
— Fuck if I can remember.
— You wanted to know if I saw that Tweet?
— Did you?
— I did. Why?
— …
— …
— I don’t remember. I think I was trying to make a point. About…something.
— Fuckin’ Trump…
— …
— You want to talk about the new Game of Throne thing?
— …
— I haven’t seen it.
— Nor have I.
— Maybe we should just sit here and drink quietly for a bit.
— There’s a new Lord of the Rings thing too.
— …
— …
— Didn’t we used to have actual conversations about, you know…stuff?
— …
— …
— Fuckin’ Trump. The very mention of his name has the power to kill conversation.

c’mon, we’re talking about elves here

In yet another episode in the continuing saga of Whiny-ass Complaints of Butt-hurt MAGA Fuckwits we learn there are people who are offended by the notion that elves aren’t necessarily White People. Seriously. This idiotic fuss is about the new Lord of the Rings prequel that has apparently just been released (see Editorial Note at the end).

“Casting a non-White actor to play an elf makes it more difficult for audiences to maintain their willing suspension of belief.”

No, it doesn’t. Casting a non-white actor to play an elf makes it more difficult for racist assholes to maintain their willing suspension of disbelief. The quote above was, according to CNN, from Louis Markos, who is apparently the author of From A to Z to Middle Earth with J.R.R. Tolkien.

This Markos guy gets at least three things wrong. First, of course, is he misquotes Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s phrase– the willing suspension of disbelief. Back in 1817, Coleridge suggested that if a writer introduced “‘human interest and a semblance of truth’ into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative.” This is why television viewers were willing to watch 12 seasons of Murder, She Wrote–they were willing to suspend their disbelief that Jessica Fletcher encountered more than 250 murders in the small Maine village of Cabot Cove. All fiction depends to some degree on the reader/viewer’s willing suspension of disbelief.

Second, Markos says casting actors of color as elves threatens the story’s ‘believability’ because Tolkien described elves as “fair-faced.” The term fair comes from the Old English term fæger, which when applied to living things meant “pleasing to the eye, attractive” and when applied to weather meant “clear, bright, pleasant”. Tolkien, remember, was an academic who studied Old English and Anglo-Saxon literature, and had at one time worked for the Old English Dictionary as an expert in etymology. He knew what ‘fair’ meant and how it applied to faces. Markos clearly doesn’t. Or–and I suppose this is a real possibility–he simply doesn’t believe non-White folks can be pleasing to the eye. It’s fucked up either way.

Wait…what’s this? Could it be? Elves of color? What?

Third, Markos claims casting actors of color “…is not something organic that’s coming out of Middle-earth. This is really an agenda that is being imposed upon it.” He’s almost got a point here. Almost. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is based on the Norse Miðgarðr, which they broadly described as the world “inhabited by and known to humans.” In the literature, Miðgarðr actually referred to the defensive wall around the world constructed by the gods from the eyebrows of the giant Ymir (which, by the way, requires some serious fucking suspension of disbelief). But Tolkien used Middle-earth to describe an imaginary period of the Earth’s past when peoples other than Men (elves, dwarves, trolls, hobbits, orcs, ents, etc.) still inhabited the planet, although in dwindling numbers. His Middle-earth did sort of correspond to western Europe in terms of geography.

But to my knowledge, there’s nothing Tolkien wrote to suggest peoples other than Men (and Tolkien used ‘Men’ to refer to all humankind) were necessarily White. I mean, we’re talking about elves here. If you can’t deal with Black or Asian or Indonesian or pick-a-race elves, then the problem isn’t your capacity to suspend disbelief. The problem is you’re a racist asshole.

EDITORIAL NOTE: I haven’t seen the show I’m talking about, which ordinarily would be a problem. But in this instance, the show itself is less important than the books on which the story is based and the credentials of the person who wrote them. I haven’t been inclined to watch the show, mainly because I had the misfortune of watching the first of Peter Jackson’s wretched interpretation of The Hobbit. That was enough to eradicate any desire to see any new visualization of Tolkien’s work.

But I’m actually hearing good things about this show from people who were as skeptical about it as I was. So at some point I’ll probably watch it.

Also? I usually like to include an image in these blog posts, and I did a quick image search for Rings of Power and saw some images of POC in costume, but since I couldn’t see their ears I’ve no idea if they were meant to be elves or something else. I didn’t want to just drop in some random image of a Black actor who may or may not be an elf, so…no image.

EDITORIAL NOTE 2: Thanks to Mark Alexander, we now have an imbedded image to demonstrate…well, I’m not exactly sure what it demonstrates. That actors of color can play non-human roles in fantasy stories? We already knew that. I guess it demonstrates just how fucking idiotic it is for racists to get frantic about Black actors getting gigs as elves.

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.

i’m glad you asked

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. In other words, Comrade Trump is slouching back to Washington, DC for the first time since he skipped out on Uncle Joe Biden’s inauguration. You’re probably wondering, “Greg, old sock, why would this canker on democracy revisit the scene of his crime?”

I’m glad you asked. He’s going to be in DC to–and I’m NOT making this up–deliver a ‘policy speech.’ Stop laughing. That’s what he says he’s going to do, deliver a ‘policy speech.’ You know, a speech on policy. At the America First Policy Institute. Now you’re probably wondering, “Greg, old sock, what in the popcorn fuck is the America First Policy Institute?”

Comrade Policy Expert Donald J. Trump

I’m glad you asked, The America First Policy Institute calls itself “a non-partisan nonprofit research institute” although it’s totally partisan and designed to grift off MAGA boneheads. It’s staffed entirely by Trump fluffers and considers itself to the the next Trump White House-in-waiting. The AFPI’s mission is “

…to advance policies that put the American people first. Our guiding principles are liberty, free enterprise, national greatness, American military superiority, foreign-policy engagement in the American interest, and the primacy of American workers, families, and communities in all we do.

You’re probably wondering, “Greg, old sock, what does that mean?” I’m glad you asked. It doesn’t mean anything at all. It’s just an amalgam of buzzwords and patriotic-sounding phrases collected in one place for the purpose of sounding like a real policy institute. The AFPI has collected “reams of research that build on the Trump administration’s successes.”

Reams, you guys. They have reams of research. You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, just what successes did the Trump administration…uh…succeed at?” I’m glad you asked. Also, don’t ask, on account of the AFPI doesn’t really say. Instead, they encourage ‘patriots’ to sign on as co-complainants in (former) President Donald J. Trump’s class action First Amendment lawsuit against social media companies. Except that the link for ‘patriots’ to join the class action suit takes them to a fundraising page for the Constitutional Leadership Partnership, which is coincidentally staffed by the staff of the AFPI.

You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, what policies will Comrade Trump address in his speech?” I’m glad you asked. Apparently, he’s going to talk about law and order. Trump is allegedly in favor of law and is quite fond of order. He may find time to comment on the last election as well.

You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, will you be watching this policy speech?” I’m glad you asked.

No.

And stop calling me ‘old sock.’

more about assholes and libraries

In my last post, I wrote about assholes and Carnegie libraries. I didn’t expect this to be a theme. But this is the United States in 2022, and Comrade Trump has turned the Republican Party into a smug nationwide collective of aggressively stupid, hate-fueled, authoritarian bullies.

So, there’s a Carnegie library in the small Iowa town of Vinton, population of about 5000. Dedicated in 1908, it’s one of the smallest Carnegie libraries in the US. It operated to the benefit of the community for over a century.

That pretty much ended last week, when the library was closed. Why?

Because of assholes.

It began in May of 2020 when, Virginia Holsten, the Director of the Vinton Public Library for 35 years, resigned. She was replaced by Janette McMahon, who’d been a librarian in both Iowa and Wyoming.

You may remember that 2020 was an election year. Some library patrons complained about books written by Kamala Harris (who, by the way, had visited the Vinton Library and read from her children’s book) and Dr. Jill Biden being on display. They also complained that there weren’t enough books about Comrade Donald Trump. McMahon explained the rigorous process by which books are selected for the library. She said, “I can’t buy what doesn’t exist, and there weren’t quality books about Trump. We pay attention to reviews and publishers and our collection needs as a whole. We don’t just say what looks good on Amazon.”

Library patrons who objected to the Biden and Harris books began checking them out, then refusing to return them. In effect, they stole the books.

Eventually the attacks against the library became personal attacks against McMahon. She resigned.

In November 2021, Renee Greenlee was hired as Director. She had a long, respected career as a librarian in Iowa. She was one of the librarians given the 2022 I Love My Librarian award, which is bestowed by the American Library Association. Only ten librarians in the country win the award each year.

Vinton library patrons objected to the fact that she hired some LGBTQ staff and that there were book dealing with LGBTQ topics on display in the library. At a library board meeting, one of the patrons read a statement, saying:

It appears that there is a slow, quiet agenda moving into our local library culture through the staff hiring decisions and the books that have crept in our children’s section of the library. I don’t believe the library is representing our town well with hiring a majority of staff who are openly a part of the LGBTQ community.

Another said,

We would like to see more balance in the offerings of books for children. For each book promoting the LGBTQ lifestyle, there should be a book on display that discusses how God created and designed people as either male or female from birth, for life.

Greenlee reported that of the 5,779 children’s materials the library holds, only three books had a subject heading of ‘LGBT’, only two books had a heading of ‘Gay’ and only two books referenced ‘transgender’ issues. In addition, there were 173 books in the library collection that were based on Christian life.

Following the next library board meeting, which was apparently a repetition of the previous one, Greenlee resigned. The interim Director, a gay man, resigned shortly afterward, leaving the Vinton Public Library without any full-time staff.

This is NOT to say that Vinton, Iowa is a town full of assholes. It’s to say that the people of Vinton allowed their local assholes to disrupt a public service that’s been supporting their community for over a century. They’ve turned a lovely gift–a Carnegie library–into an open, festering wound of resentment and hate.

This is happening all over the United States. It happens because the assholes show up while decent people stay home and watch television. In small towns throughout the nation, a minority of bitter, ignorant, self-righteous religious bigots terrified of imaginary enemies have begun to impose their mean-spirited agenda on the rest of us.

And we’ve let them do it. We can’t expect them to be better. We have to DO better ourselves.