A Dairyman Should Know Better

Devin-Nunes-03222017-AP

You’d think someone who grew up on a dairy would know how not to step in it. Did you catch yesterday’s news? Devin Nunes is the talk of the town (Washington, D.C.), but not in a good way.

The media, with the possible exception of Fox News (I don’t watch them so I don’t know how they’re handling this mess), is raking Nunes over the coals. Heck, even John McCain can’t quite believe what he’s seeing.

Maybe Devin’s been away from the dairy too long.

Image: Associated Press

Putin on pins and needles

putin_Mikhail Klimentyev_The Associated Press via Sputnik_Kremlin Photo Pool

Vlad’s got to be wondering if the Republicans will have the decency to stay bought and, instead of going after his manipulations of the 2016 US election and dealings with the Trump campaign, focus their efforts on finding the “leaks” that let the kot out of the meshok.

Monday’s Congressional dog-and-pony, er… hearings…, led by our own Devin Nunes, who seemed confused about which agency is in charge of domestic matters and which conducts overseas surveillance, walked through a litany of “change the votes” questions. I don’t recall anyone claiming actual votes were changed by Russia after voters cast them. The charge has always  been the relentless focus of “fake news” and manipulation of social media to swing just enough votes in just the right places, to hand the win in the Electoral College to Trump. And, of course, the deal-making the Trump campaign did on sanctions, and to get the DNC’s emails (but not the RNC’s) dumped to Wikileaks.

At least we got the FBI and DOJ to go on the record shooting down 45’s nonsense about “wire tapping” at Trump Tower. I wonder if Hair Furor will continue to claim President Obama ordered the “tapp” (or asked the UK intelligence services to do it for him – that got a resounding ‘hrruummph’ out of the Brits), or if he and Sean Spicer will try to spin it away? He didn’t have much luck trying to drag Angela Merkel into his mess during her state visit to Washington. Maybe they’ll pull an old Trump standard out, and just deny he ever said or Tweeted it in the first place. More “fake news”, no doubt.

It must be interesting times in the Kremlin these days. Vlad is probably calling the Russian ambassador to the United States every hour for an update on which way the GOP’s winds are blowing. It’ll be interesting to see if the combination of relentless press questions, and the pressures being applied to the Republican members of Congress at town hall meetings across the country, produce any real results.

Which will it be, Republicans? Since you only seem able to do one thing at a time, will it be go after the criminals, or go after the leakers?

Image: Mikhail-Klimentyev/The-Associated-Press-via-Sputnik/Kremlin-Photo-Pool

‘Let them eat cake… it’s compassionate’

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“I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

With that sentence, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has made clear to everyone the depths of heartlessness permeating the Trump administration.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget slashes funding for Meals on Wheels and school lunches for poor children. They’re “just not showing any results”, Mulvaney says. (They do for seniors) (and for kids)

The rage rippling out across the United States over this proposal can easily be measured by the flurry of posts (like this one) popping up all over the internet, and by the indignant comments on Facebook when articles on the subject are shared. The Twitter scorn is relentless. There are not many people going along with the administration’s idea that taking food away from elderly shut-ins, or making poor children go hungry at school, is a good idea.

Back in the early 90’s, I worked for the City of Visalia as a Meals on Wheels delivery person. I don’t know how much (if any) of the funding came from the Federal government, but I do know the hot meal I delivered to twenty or thirty elderly shut-ins was quite often the only decent food they had that day. (there were four of us delivering meals, if I recall correctly) To have that taken away is a cruelty I find difficult to imagine. The downward spiral the loss of a nutritious meal would create is entirely preventable, not to mention the associated costs to the medical system when they inevitably end up in the emergency room.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

Donald Trump proposes to take the food from those least able to feed themselves, and spend that money on increasing the budget of the Defense Department.

We’re going to save a few million bucks, so it’s all good. At least according to Trump. Those old folks and bratty kids can fend for themselves! It’ll be good for them! Teach them to stop living off the government. If they die, or flunk school, well, it’s all on them, right?

Hey… conservatives! You know how you always go on about how the government should be run like a business? Well, here’s your first example. No profit showing from feeding old people or school kids so we’ll get rid of those programs, and send the money over to the Department of Defense, were we’ll get a real bang for our buck!

Don’t worry, America. We’re going to be great again. Right?

Image: Associated Press

Odd… I didn’t order that

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Well now, this is a mystery. A new microwave oven was just delivered to my door. It’s odd, because I didn’t order one. It’s also the first I’ve seen with a LAN port… what’s that all about?

Oh well, thanks, whoever! It’s nicer than the pre-W oven I had been using. I can’t wait to try it out.

Trump campaign ties to Russia: witch hunt. Baseless charge against Obama: investigation

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Last week Devin Nunes (our Congressman), head of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, tried to fend off media questions about looking into contacts by Trump campaign officials or surrogates as a “witch hunt” that could end up with the press being investigated for talking to Russian officials. Despite the Committee’s own statement that one of the objectives of their investigation would be “Did the Russian active measures include links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns or any other U.S. Persons?”,  Nunes has been unwilling to pursue such allegations. “There’s nothing there”.

Today, Nunes released this statement:

One of the focus points of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is the U.S. government’s response to actions taken by Russian intelligence agents during the presidential campaign. As such, the Committee will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates, and we will continue to investigate this issue if the evidence warrants it.”

Notice the part of the statement in bold font: the committee isn’t focusing on whether anyone in the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, they’re looking to see if the government was watching them! (Nunes was part of the Trump transition team)

This after President Trump Tweeted over the weekend:

Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

Then:

I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

Followed by:

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

The President offered no evidence or sourcing, has not commented about it since, and as far as anyone can tell, is getting his “information” from Breitbart and other conspiracy sites.

Nunes was not interested in investigating whether or not Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian officials in the run-up to the election, but he’s ready to investigate the nonsense claim that Obama had Trump Towers “tapped”?

Many have pointed out (see what I did there?) that a President cannot “tap” the phones of a United States citizen. What may have happened is a warrant was issued by the FISA Court to access the computers at Trump headquarters, after the Justice Department or the FBI presented evidence of possible violations of law. If that’s the case, then Trump and Nunes’ might find themselves holding a very messy can of worms, opened at their own insistence.

I’m thinking I should order in a large supply of popcorn and soda pop. This show is getting better by the minute. The only downside? While all the media air in the room is being sucked up by this mess, the Republicans in Congress are gutting the Federal Government.

Image: http://intelligence.house.gov/about/chairman.htm 

Nunes threatens the press

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Wow. Our Congressman, Devin Nunes, head of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, just warned reporters not to continue their probes of contacts by Trump campaign officials with the Russians during the run-up to the November election. Holding forth the prospect that reporters’ conversations with Russian officials could become fodder for Congressional investigations, Nunes basically threatened the press with the power of Congress.

Even if he meant his words in the most innocent of ways, suggesting that what the reporters were asking Congress to do might open a can of worms that could sweep up their conversations with Russian officials, conducted in the normal course of their work, he so poorly worded that thought as to make one wonder how such a person makes it to the highest levels of government service.

You can’t make a veiled threat, then insist you didn’t mean it that way. One might expect that from a freshman Congressman, just learning the ropes, but not from someone who has been in office over a decade, and sits at the head of one of the government’s most powerful committees.

Nunes Tweeted a ‘clarification’ later,  “I was saying the opposite, warning against engaging in witch-hunts.” (witch-hunts has been a favorite Nunes theme lately)

Sure, his words could have been meant as he’s claimed. That the people he was speaking to didn’t think so is important to consider. “That’s an awfully nice freedom of the press you’ve got there… It’d be a shame if anything happened to it…”

Image: nunes.house.gov