NewsSan Francisco

This Week’s Need to Know News for the Bay Area & Beyond

In this slightly special edition of the weekly news wrap, we touch on a few less local stories and take a little extra time to discuss the memo fallout, because it’s actually a shit storm swirling around us today. But first, we’ll start with a very special toilet.

Golden showers

The curator of the Guggenheim received a rare but not unheard of request, according to a CNN report. Her response was legendary. The White House called and asked to borrow a Van Gogh. This is the part that is not unusual. Each first family can add touches to the White House to fit their taste and forward their causes. Apparently, the Trump White House really wanted to hang Van Gogh’s “Landscape with Snow.” But when curator Nancy Spector got the request, she declined and instead offered up a “participatory” piece titled, “America.” It was participatory in the way that approximately 100,000 people had pissed and/or shit into the fully functioning gold toilet.

Maurizio Cattelan’s “America,” a fully functional solid gold toilet, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on Aug. 30, 2017. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)

Fox News has since called for Spector to be fired, but we applaud her wit. I don’t care who you are, that’s just funny.

Identifiers go big

If you payed your toll and crossed the Bay Bridge Sunday, you were also more than likely warned about the “DANGER” zone you were entering, thanks to Identity Evropa and their new banner tactic.

CBS News captured the banner’s day in the spotlight as it hung over the Yerba Buena Island tunnel. The white supremacist group claimed responsibility for the sign. Apparently, they really wanted everyone entering San Francisco to know of its sanctuary city status, and thus be super scared, or pissed, or both. It’s probably both.

Anyway, let’s all take the time out of our day to thank Identity Evropa for reminding of us where we live and what we stand for – one patriot to another. You can contact them directly from their nifty website.

Sad times at East Bay Times

The East Bay Express reported Tuesday that several reporters, photographers, editors and editorial staffers were getting the boot from the East Bay Times. Neil Chase, executive editor of the Bay Area News Group, attributes the first round of buyouts and impending layoffs to the newspaper’s shrinking revenue.

(Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Reporter Matthias Gafni took to Twitter Wednesday to show his support for his fallen colleagues:

“It’s a very sad day in the East Bay Times Walnut Creek office. 17 goodbye cards to sign. Each card represents about a quarter of a century of institutional knowledge. They served the communities. And they’re our friends. #supportlocaljournalims.”

The Devin Nunes situation (a.k.a., #ReleaseTheMemo)

We’ll do our best to explain here what nobody in D.C. seems to be able explain, publicly anyway.

Photo: National Review

To do that, we have to start with Devin Nunes, California’s 22nd District representative. Nunes is a Trump guy – like the kind with his nose so far up the president’s ass, he can tell us what the scent was when that unfortunate white pants golfing picture was takenThe Fresno Bee Editorial Board called him Trump’s stooge and Joe Scarborough called him a “clown” that “allowed himself to play the dupe for the White House” in a very weird press conference stunt earlier this year.

To put those assessments into context, the Fresno Bee reports in one of the very few, truly moderate counties in California – with a 2 percent spread between Republican and Democratic voters, and although Joe Scarborough is an anchor on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, until very recently, he was also a steadfast Republican that once served as Florida’s 1st District representative…as a Republican. So yes, Nunes is a Trump guy.

But Nunes is also the House Intelligence Committee chairman, and that same committee is one of at least three committees/agencies investigating Russian interference during the 2016 election. Robert Mueller’s FBI investigation is obviously the most robust, and the most scary for anyone who might have reason to be scared, but the House investigation is still in the game. The problem for Nunes is that, even as chairman, he was basically forced to recuse himself from any Russia-related investigations because he himself was being investigated by the Ethics Committee for that weird shit he did last March (check out Wired’s pretty brilliant summary). And the problem for the rest of us is that he didn’t really follow the rules of the whole “recusal” thing – he continued to issue subpoenas and reportedly wrote demand letters for DOJ documents, about the Russia stuff, which he wasn’t supposed to be part of. So there’s that.

Nunes has repeatedly demonstrated an affinity for protecting Trump, specifically from Russia investigations, while being in charge of a committee charged with investigating Trump and Russia. That’s about as layman as I can make it.

So, the Special Counsel investigation ticks up. We find out that Jeff Sessions went in for an interview and that Mueller’s team has begun negotiations to interview Trump himself. And just like a ninja in the nick of time, then comes the four-page memo, which only special people have been privy to. The memo was written by Nunes staffers and supposedly taps into very specific points about how the FBI requested warrants to collect foreign intelligence surveillance, and it alleges an overreach and bias, as far as we can tell. According to the FBI, what the Nunes team fails to do is offer a full account – cherry picking certain facts without context can render the material inaccurate. He and his team of groupies have mustered up enough technical language to appear legit, without actually being legit. But let’s not forget that what he’s peddling is a direct appeal from the man being investigated, because as we previously stated, Nunes is a Trump guy.

This “memo” is a very dangerous distraction from the real inquiry at hand: Is Donald Trump, and everybody he worked with, a pig puppet for Vladimir Putin? It’s a valid fucking question. But Nunes seems determined to undermine Mueller’s attempt to answer that question.

Anywho, the Republican majority of the Intelligence Committee voted to release the Nunes-drafted memo and the FBI has since warned against it, but Trump has the final say, or no say. If he chooses not to protest, effectually saying nothing, the memo and its selectively supporting data could be released for public consumption as early as today, releasing just pieces of protected information without context – essentially screwing the FBI and its influence in all sorts of FBI-type activities, which we kind of depend on. So much for the party of “law and order.”

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.