Please Don’t Throw Me In the Briar Patch!

We don’t hear the old “Uncle Remus” stories any more, and for obvious reasons, but it’s a shame they can’t be shorn of the stereotypical racism of the Uncle Remus character and retold, because most of them reflected a pretty sophisticated understanding of human psychology.

The younger folks who read this blog probably never heard the one about B’rer Rabbit and the briar patch. The bottom line: B’rer Rabbit was being chased by (I think) a fox, and knew he couldn’t outrun the predator. He also knew the fox couldn’t negotiate the nearby briar patch, so he pled with the fox, “please don’t throw me in the briar patch! Oh, please, not that.” The fox, being stupid, immediately threw him in the briar patch, allowing him to make his escape.

I suspect that today, that fox would be named Devin Nunes.

Put aside, for purposes of this discussion, the very real harm done to the FBI and Department of Justice by the GOP (party of “law and order”) with this effort to discredit the Muller investigation.

For weeks–seems like months–we’ve been treated to an elaborate kabuki dance about “the memo.” There was a hashtag, “release the memo” which–as I noted yesterday– went viral with the help of bots. There were the responses from the Democrats, the FBI and DOJ–“Oh, please don’t release the memo/throw us in the briar patch!”

Then the memo was released. And to use a currently popular term, it’s an obvious nothing-burger.

The most succinct response came from Trevor Noah, on the Daily Show. “Four pages to discredit the whole FBI? I’ve had CVS receipts with more detail than this memo.”

A longer, but no less devastating putdown came from the always-excellent Charles Pierce:

I grew up with the Watergate tapes. I grew up with the revelations of the Pike and the Church committees. (Revelations, I might add, that produced the FISA process and the congressional intelligence procedures that Nunes turned into dog food Friday.) I grew up with George Schultz’s diaries that showed that everyone in the upper reaches of the Reagan administration was involved in the crimes of Iran-Contra. I watched every second of the several inquiries into the Whitewater land deal, which is how I know what a crock that was, but at least there was some phony substance to those phony charges. This Memo, Devin, isn’t even a good try. You and your staff have to be the laziest alleged obstructors of justice that I’ve ever seen. All it appears to be is a lame-ass defense of a self-important goofball Russophile named Carter Page. That’s all you got?

Pierce examines the “argument” the memo appears to be making, and (to put it mildly) finds it wanting.

For this, you needed a memo? For this, you needed a month’s worth of drama? For this, you needed to demolish the good faith between the intelligence community and the congressional committees designed to conduct oversight of that community? You couldn’t even get the date of David Corn’s breakthrough story in Mother Jones right. Hell, you could have saved us all the trouble and just done a couple of nights on Hannity to make that caseYou’d have reached every single American that currently buys what you’re peddling.

As long as the memo remained secret, Nunes and his cohorts could have continued the pretense–they could have piqued the public imagination by suggesting that they had secret evidence of malfeasance. Once that “evidence” was out, however, once it had been made available in all its glorious inanity, they lost any benefit of the doubt that people might have accorded them.

Uncle Remus’ wily rabbit knew the fox was dumb. The FBI’s concerns, in contrast, were  sincere and well-founded–if the agency can’t protect the identity of informers, fewer people will inform. Not only that, but classified information might be required in order to rebut misleading information in the memo–information the agency couldn’t and wouldn’t disclose. (Who knew the memo would be so weak and sloppy that it would rebut itself?)

Uncle Remus and B’rer Rabbit could have taught Devin Nunes a thing or two…..


  1. Who knew that the Republican friends of Trump would provide Mueller with yet more evidence of obstruction of justice? Maybe Nunes should have studied a bit of law instead of focusing on agriculture for his college degree. Snark, snark.

  2. Unfortunately, the ones the memo was intended for will believe the hype. They seem to need reinforcement every so often, and will wolf down anything thrown to them.

  3. “The FBI’s concerns, in contrast, were sincere and well-founded–if the agency can’t protect the identity of informers, fewer people will inform. Not only that, but classified information might be required in order to rebut misleading information in the memo–information the agency couldn’t and wouldn’t disclose.”

    Those of us who have paid attention were not surprised that “the memo” contained no new information or that portions of it wanted classified information released to the general public. Now, Nunes is promising 5 more memos; are they to rehash old news, offer an explanation of “the memo” and make more demands for classified information in their continuing attempt to cover up the Trump campaign managers and administration’s Russian connections (collusion) as some of his appointees sit precariously in their lofty positions. The actual harm done to the FBI began with their own actions during the presidential campaign and continued when Trump understood Comey’s anti-Hillary Clinton aid to his election was NOT done to assure his election. We can include Trump using the Queen’s solution to all problems in “Alice In Wonderland”; “Off with their heads!” Nunes’ head should have rolled last year when he ignored all governmental protocol, as well as common sense, by meeting with Trump and calling that impromptu press conference to release the first of his uninformative news by way-of-mouth.

    Is the quick release of Democratic Co-chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, the result of a lesson learned that hype doesn’t work…or have the Republicans denials of Democratic involvement in the Committee and all other aspects of Congressional action at last ended? We can hope!

    How fast will Trump and the entire Republican members of Congress and the Senate use the deaths of Colts player, Edwin Jackson, and his Uber driver being caused by an illegal immigrant with a lengthy criminal history, plus earlier deportation, to get votes for their wall to pass the bill to prevent another government shutdown? I’m sure Pence is pushing that terrible accident as proof all immigrants are dangerous criminals. He has already used a Colts game to stage a pre-planned and very expensive public walkout to express his religious view against players “taking a knee” to express their personal view of conditions in this country.

  4. We know that 1/3 of the voting public doesn’t care what 45 does. They will support him regardless of his malfeasance, his peccadillos, or even if he were to shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue. The memo was to get to those on the perifery, who tune in occasionally. If it can just sow a little seed of doubt, Nunes gets what he wanted. It’s not about the substance. It’s about the message.

  5. As Br’er Fox said, “N’cessity may be the Momma of invent-shun, BUT ingee-newty sho’ is da Papa!”
    (my memory and paraphrase.) – I think the problem with the ingenuity we see displayed in our day is that it is entirely totally corrupt. How we can mend this in the short term – is at this time to me at least, entirely incomprehensible – ingenuity and wisdom were recently seen leaving the building!… ~8)

  6. P.S. if you had white knuckles dug into the sofa last eve – you are going to love today’s journey!!!

  7. Pat,

    “Unfortunately, the ones the memo was intended for will believe the hype.”

    Exactly right. They haven’t read “Uncle Remus” and have no intention to do so.

    Trump is playing the role of the SCHOOLHOUSE BULLY with the K.K.K. behind him. He taunts “little Adam Schiff.” Today its Nancy Pelosi who is “un-American.” And the Democratic Party doesn’t take an effective step to challenge him.

    I remember back in the 6th grade, my family had moved to “The Mansion.” I had attended Southside Grammar up until that time. Now I was at Hendricks Avenue with no friends. There was a giant at Hendricks Avenue, his name was Johnny P. He was close to six feet tall. Everyone was scared to death of him. Because of the jokes about his size, he also became the school’s bully. As the newcomer, it was decided that I had to be the one to take him on. It was a wrestling match. Johnny was penned to the ground. I won. And Johnny was no longer a bully.

    My reward was a love letter and valentine from the class beauty, Sarah Monroe. It was a just reward.

    Trump is a bully. He has to be taken down. IMPOTENT WORDS are not enough. I would suggest: FASCIST with sufficient evidence as a starter. Barack Obama used those words a few weeks ago and was immeditately scared off by the press.

  8. The Nunes memo was political theater, like the rest of the drek which comes out of Washington. Our politics had reasched an all-time low with no end in sight.

  9. Trump defines himself and his idea of useful virtue to the fringe by whom he pisses off. The more liberals squeal the more the fringe believes that Trumpism makes sense. The further he drives liberals to the left the more moderate conservatives enjoy seeing the alignment of their dogma with the politics of the American Nazi movement.

  10. Brer Rabbit’s clever use of briar patch psychology on Brer Fox worked, but I am not sure Nunes’s gaffe did not. It depends upon the audience, and Trump has roughly one third of the audience who believe that Democrats are treasonous and that global warming is a mirage “because he said so.” He now wants appointment of another special counsel to investigate the DOJ and FBI in his “investigate the investigators” campaign, a campaign clearly designed to undercut Mueller’s investigation and to cast doubt on Mueller’s final report (which Trump knows will be damning to his interests) when presented to the House for impeachment purposes.

    I have written elsewhere that I think that Mueller will not indict Trump (though I have been wrong before) but rather submit his final report to Congress for their action or inaction because there are legal questions about indictment of a sitting president. He can indict others of Trump’s inner circle, however, and the good news is that if Trump is impeached and removed from office he can be indicted for crimes both by federal prosecutors and State of New York prosecutors for state crimes committed within that state’s jurisdiction.

    Nunes’s effort was a sideshow. Brer Rabbit (our minority) has won and we are now free out here in the briar patch. This November we will leave the brier patch and reoccupy the hutch.

  11. if anyone is following orbus,fusion,prevezon in any capacity, the reason for the so called memo isnt even a secret. the glenn simpson interview with the judiciary comm,8/17/17 word for word of the interview is available. the mention of why, fusion gps was even answering questions, was because of the democrates need to know. the investigation started as,with finding out about trumps buisness dealings, simpson never had one real goal, it was an open ended investigation,with many contractors working on, leads,as explaned by simpson. each avenue was given to seprate enity,with no,reason why for the information,to, the contractor. hense,no one enity had an outcome,until mr simpson was well into gathering the pieces. the bull about cris steeles being some sort of no one, is. he is in fact a former MI 6 retired,and was contracted because of his in europe,getting facts thru, documented sources. when steele came to the conclusion that russian lawyer and a couple of her cohorts dropped in on manafort,don jr,and kushner,atbtrump tower 6/16, chris steele was the one who went to the fbi in rome,with few words to simpson about this meeting at trump tower. he knew it was a federal offense to mingle with foreign governments in an election. this is all in the transcript, put in public a month ago. from the senate judiciary comm,8/17/17 and its published here..
    its every word on the fact finding,and how it led from being a trump buisness check to a reality check. but then again, if you have been reading from start of this back in 2012many articles have surfaced on, manafort, and his gangs, doing in ukraine since the 1980s. trumps name always came up in some sort of dealings with russia. james henry at has about the most damning story on this con man..or as harry reid said, hes a fraud…

  12. This is a perfect example why we are doomed if we’re expecting effective leadership from the abyss via the Democratic Party.

    Watch how Nancy Pelosi (worth 35 million dollars) responds to an informed college student asking her about the current situation the Democratic Party find themselves. This student gives me hope for the future.

  13. No, there are no questions about indicting a sitting President. He can be had for breaking the law. The law does, in fact, apply to everyone.

    I don’t know why so many people keep bashing the Democrats for not fighting back. They ARE fighting back. With the orange hairball labeling Schiff, Pelosi, et. al., as “little” or treasonous, it is clear that Democratic resistance is getting to this idiot. Remember, Mueller, Rosenstein, Comes,, are REPUBLICANS, and they’re carrying a goodly share of the water here. McCain would love to throw Trump under the bus…as would just about every Democrat who has had a microphone in his/her face.

    BTW, comparing the “Fox” to Nunes is an insult to the fox. Nunes is merely Trump’s bitch and will sacrifice everything he has to keep up the charade. Let’s hope he gets kicked out of office in November too.

  14. Vernon – There are indeed legal questions about indictment of a sitting president even if there is evidence supporting such an indictment. The question has to do with the nature of the offense charged and its timing since the Constitution provides for alternative relief in the form of an impeachment for certain offenses which may exclude criminal indictment. True, the president is not above the law, but the law’s application may be different for presidents, depending upon (to reiterate) the offense charged and its timing.

  15. William @ 10:56 am, you are so right. Pelosi should do Bo-Tox Commercials, as she comes across so stiff. Pelosi will not sign onto HR 676 Enhanced Medicare for all. She is Capitalist so as long as she can afford Health Care the for profit system of Health Care works for her, and that is all that counts. With not to much practice Pelosi could echo the Romney’s, corporations are people.

    Here is a feed I received: One of Trump’s top priorities for 2018 is to slash the Dodd-Frank protections that safeguard against the risky gambling and speculation that led to the Wall Street economic crash and the bank bailouts. He has help from 11 corporate Democrats who have co-sponsored a horrendous bill undermining rules on Wall Street.

    Who are those “Democrats” Sens. Michael Bennet, Tom Carper, Christopher Coons, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Tim Kaine, Joe Manchin, Claire McCaskill, Gary Peters, Jon Tester, and Mark Warner. >>> Two names stand out our own “Democrat” Joe Donnelly and Tim Kaine Hillary’s running mate in 2016. <<<

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren has blasted the deal in no uncertain terms:
    “This bill weakens consumer protections, helps out the country’s biggest banks and encourages them to swallow up even more community banks. This bill shows once again how Washington values short-term profits for big banks ahead of the interests of consumers or the safety of the financial system.”

    Joe Donnelly calls himself a "Democrat" but that is false advertising – if you think of a "Democrat" as a Progressive.

  16. Loved the reference to Uncle Remus. The actor who portrayed him was from Indianapolis. He was wise and he communed with animals. He sang a catchy song that kids like me loved at the time. Unfortunately, Uncle Remus was a slave, and a happy one, at that, and that is the problem with “Song of the South” and why you won’t see it on TV or DVD any time soon.

  17. @Jack Smith. You are right. I read the entire transcript of Simpson’s testimony. It is exactly as you describe. Now the question is, how many of those Republicans in the Congress read it in its entirety? If they have not, or just read a summary prepared by aides, then they are derelict in their duty and complicit in the coverup.

  18. What a future, Trump resigns and now we have Pence. Hurray, Hurray!

    Whatever happened to the obsolete terms: “civic courage” and/or “skin in the game”? Surely not to be found anywhere near the Democratic Party, the American press, or the so-called progressive NGO’s.

  19. I guess the only plan the Democratic Party has for the country is removing Trump from the throne and installing Pence in his place. Isn’t that exciting?

    That’s some weak tea. They are/have become so out of touch.

  20. I’ve been a fan of yours since you were a Proud Republican with good reason to be Proud about it.
    Thanks for saying what I couldn’t have, but lack the talent. I don’t read all your stuff because I’m trying to go on the wagon when it comes to anything digital. That doesn’t stop me from watching Rachel Maddow, who seems to have the best mind on television and knows (like yourself) how to break a complex issue down and then share it with those of us who have a hell of a time trying to keep up. Your doing God’s work and I thank you for it.
    PS..I also think that you did a wonderful job bringing up your son, David.

  21. Of the many things that I’m not, lawyer leads the list. Obviously English is one shortcoming but the rest I blame on reading almost anything else over the law of the land. Mea culpa.

    My totally amateur guess is that Trump won’t be indicted or impeached but merely rendered toothless by the midterm majority voting of all Ds. He and Pence can spend the rest of the day’s reminiscing about dreams of past glory.

    Not that I’m not looking forward to Muellers studious revelation about the stage of our cancer. I’m just trying to be realistic. I don’t think that we are quite at the point yet of tossing him being better for Republicans than being labeled by him although that could change suddenly.

    In the meantime, there’s nothing to be seen here in DC folks, please move on. Yes I know about the Tweets but I also know about America’s infamous attention span. (BTW VT, I collect suitable nicknames for he whose name must not be spoken and “orange hairball” is trending up.)

    Time to turn our attention to the solution rather than the problem. All Ds in ’18 and ’20 and sort them out later. The lying now that has replaced news makes it nearly impossible to know who you’re voting for anyway. The Ds are clearly marked though and we need to not only outvote the zombies but the gerrymandered and the Russians too.

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