First of all, go Pats. We love you, Tom Brady!

Oh, and the Nunes memo? Sure. Whatever. The political posturing dressed up as oversight is sort of like the Super Bowl, only a tad more boring.

A memo written by the guy who once called his fellow Republicans lemmings in suicide vests? Bring it on.

I’m sure it will end up where all memos go to die – saved on the hard drive somewhere – but Republicans crying about civil liberties and the outrageous surveillance of a former Merrill Lynch banker and energy industry executive who pals around with Russian spies is kind of entertaining. It’s right up there with the lawsuit filed by James Damore against Google claiming discrimination against conservative white men. Full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

You want transparency? Fine. The Nunes memo has to be given some credit; after all, Devin Nunes is the Republican who oversaw the House Intelligence Committee investigation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s official conduct at Benghazi and found she and other state department as well as intelligence and military personnel adhered to the highest standards of protocol and broke no laws. This is evidence that Nunes had, at one point, the capacity to oversee a nonpartisan investigation.

Plus, did you know Nunes’ father is named Antonio; his mother, Tonie; and his brother, Anthony? That’s completely irrelevant but poetic and maybe explains Nunes’ ability to string a few words together. In 2009 he wrote, for instance, “My family has farmed the San Joaquin Valley for three generations. And my first lesson in capital flows came when I was 14. I had cracked open my piggy bank to buy seven head of young cattle to raise and sell. I had two choices: I could buy feed or I could fix fences in exchange for free grazing. Like water flowing down a furrow, my cattle went to pasture where I could make a higher profit.”


He cracked open his piggy bank and bought cows that flowed like water!

The memo could use that kind of imagery. Maybe Michael Wolf can write the foreword and the memo has a title: “Operation Chaos infiltrates the boys club.”

Nunes the fence-fixer goes to bat for Carter Page, who the Wall Street Journal reports has been on the radar of the intelligence services since 2013 because he met with Victor Podobnyy, a Russian who U.S. federal prosecutors believe was an agent for the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service. In March 2013, Mr. Page met with Mr. Podobnyy, “over coffee or a Coke, he told the House panel in his testimony. Mr. Page, asked why he had sought out Mr. Podobnyy a second time, said he wanted to practice his Russian,” the WSJ reports.

Can’t a guy practice his Russian with a spy over cokes without Big Brother listening in any more? What’s a matter with these people? If Carter Page isn’t free to conspire with the enemy, none of us are free.

Nunes also is known for saying global warming is a hoax.

The point isn’t whether you like or agree with Devin Nunes.


Sometimes he’s right and sometimes his words flow like cow patties. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

In the world of words, the memo means something. In the search for truth, the memo is hearsay and evidence only of Devin Nunes’ opinion or characterization. The media circus suggests there’s some degree of finality or truth contained in a 31/2-page document, when really it’s just another memo chasing a memo chasing a dossier.

Remember the Comey Memo? And the Rosenstein Memo? And the fussy-named dossier?

All these are compilations and placement of words by wordsmiths of the highest caliber. Thrown into the public discourse and bandied about by pundits as if memos are smoking guns, these documents take on the air of fact or reality. In politics, memos and dossiers are catnip for ravenous media content whores trying to make a living. Memos get quoted and retweeted and “analyzed” to death. A fact is that if Carter Page’s civil rights were violated let him file a lawsuit to that effect and prove it like everybody else who has a gripe about government. Surely Page has the resources and is able-bodied enough to take personal responsibility for the adjudication of his rights.

The Nunes memo attacking a warrant he never read and suggesting the FISA court was duped is frightening but not nonfiction. The defense of Carter Page’s “rights” to practice his Russian with spies and energy oligarchs is like cows flowing like water. Poetic and meaningless.

So let the memos flow, let the courts adjudicate and go Pats.

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights lawyer and former state senator. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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