So, while I was away, did I miss anything?
Yes, okay, I did check in with the news a bit on my trip, and caught some of circus -- it would have been near-impossible to miss the three-day shutdown -- but a lot of the rest glided by, under the wire of headlines only.
For instance, I only caught the slightest news about the intelligence services warning Jared Kusher that he might be at risk of China trying to use and develop him as an asset because it was believed his wife's close friend was a Chinese spy. And that he seemed unconcerned because he knew better than the intelligence services. (Yes, and how is that working out?) But I didn't see much more about it.
But the story I find most noteworthy is one I'm only starting to catch up with, and that's the Republican's Really Big Devin Nunes Memo that they're trying to use to undermine the FBI. That's reprehensible enough, and dangerous, and I'm quite sure meaningless and idiotic -- which I say without admittedly having seen anything, but base my opinion on a) the fact that they refuse to show the memo to any Democrats, and b) my grasp of reality. But almost more pathetic than the memo in general (which is saying a lot) is the part of it that Republicans are picking up on and attempting to claim that there's a "secret society" in the FBI.
I mean, there was an actual United States senator, Ron Johnson (R-WI), going on television and almost having his head explode with horror about this "secret society" of FBI agents meeting, like it was as big and important as pizzagate. And then the next day, he had to go back on TV on walk all that back a bit because some sane people likely cornered him and explained reality that he was coming across like a buffoon. And so we got, no, he wasn't really saying what he said the other day just that maybe there could possibly have been FBI agents doing something that potentially was otherwise because I heard that maybe some agents might have met after work. And this doesn't even take into consideration all the GOP congressman who are in a mad dervish trying to reveal this double-probation, decoder ring "secret society." Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Matt Gaetz (R- FL) leading the pack. Along with Devin Nunes (R-CA), of course.
Mind you, have you seen the text message in question? And yes, this is all about ONE TEXT MESSAGE that two FBI agents (who were dating and so were personally close) sent to one another. That text has come to light. Written by Lisa Page (and this is real), it reads --
"Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society."
Yes, that's it. In its entirety. That's the Republican Party's evidence of a "secret society"!! Because when you're in an actual secret society (especially one in the FBI, known for its covert activities), that's what you do -- you text about your "secret society," which apparently has less stringent rules keeping it secret than Fight Club. On the other hand, more rational people would read the text message as evidence that two close FBI agents have a sense of sardonic humor. Or an invitation to get beers after work.
The story is funny on the surface. But it's desperate at heart in its effort to trash those investigating corruption in the White House -- and sick, pathetic and disturbingly dangerous what elected Republican officials are trying to do to rip apart critical foundations of American society, all to protect a racist, narcissistic, misogynistic, egomaniacal con man.
It's great to be back.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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