Our Town

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

A few years back Mr. Crawford posted a painting & matched the various people in the scene to Trail Mix contributors. It was fun & pretty much dead-on.

For enlarged pic Click Here

In the same spirit, how do you “see” the various members who make up this blog?

To me everyone here is a supporting player: individual contributions add & enhance the overall effect. I’d much rather be a Mary Wickes or John Fiedler than a big name. More variety, more opportunities, more fun.

When I wake up or come home from work my routine is the same. First, check email; second, check Trail Mix. The former can be an annoying chore. The latter is always a joy.

Thank You to everyone here for creating, if not a perfect world, at least one that is based on information, intelligence & humanity.

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So, What’s Up Susan?

By Pogo, a Trail Mix Contributor

Over recent days we’ve seen reports Susan Rice repeatedly asked to unmask the identities of Trump transition members who were incidentally surveilled. Sources: Bloomberg, NYT, Fox, Wapo, The Atlantic.

From the Atlantic:

Ever since Devin Nunes’s mysterious announcement of supposed surveillance of Trump transition team members two weeks ago, the story has operated on two levels. The first is why Nunes behaved the way he did—with mysterious cloak-and-dagger maneuvers—and who he got his information from. It now appears that despite rushing to brief President Trump on his news, the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee received his information from the White House in the first place.

The second, and more obscure, concerns the actual material that Nunes had. He was cagey about it, in part because it is apparently classified. He said that Trump transition team members were subject to “incidental collection,” which refers to U.S. persons being caught up in legal surveillance of foreign targets. There was no indication of illegality, but the names Americans who are incidentally collected are typically meant to be redacted, and Nunes said some names were possibly improperly revealed, or “unmasked,” by the Obama administration.

If that is true, who was behind the unmasking? Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake reports one answer Monday:

White House lawyers last month discovered that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Lake further reports that Rice’s pattern of requesting unmasking was discovered by Trump National Security Council staffer Ezra Cohen-Watnick, whom The New York Times reported last week was one of Nunes’s sources. Cohen-Watnick informed the White House Counsel’s office, Lake reports.

Rice has not commented on the report. It would likely be legal for Rice to request the unmasking — “The standard for senior officials to learn the names of U.S. persons incidentally collected is that it must have some foreign intelligence value, a standard that can apply to almost anything,” Lake notes.

As Lake notes, nothing he — or anyone else — has uncovered lends credence to President Trump’s outlandish and unsupported claim that Obama ordered surveillance of him at Trump Tower prior to the election. Nor does the new story suggest any illegal behavior on Rice’s part. As with each step in the story, this one offers only a small sliver of information. Many experts seem to think the Bloomberg View story does not imply anything improper or unusual. Others withheld judgment, saying there’s simply not enough information to judge.

The article goes on …

So what’s a poor Congress to do with this?  Rand Paul wants Susan Rice under oath about it before Congress.  My question is “Why?” Although the “revelation” is new, there is no indication anything Rice did was illegal, and I’ve seen nothing indicating it was outside normal channels.  Most importantly, it does nothing to back up Trump’s bogus claim about Obama surveilling Trump Tower.  The information should come out though – to determine if anyone on the Trump team was doing what Eric Prince (Betsy DeVos’ brother) was doing to open back channel communication with our enemies.  Now THAT would be worth investigating.

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What, Me Worry?

Hey there, Bunkie, they say the big turnip’s got you down, you’ve lost it – whatever it was. Take heed of the old philosophers: not to worry, this too will pass.

And as it says in Matthew 6:34 (CJB) “Don’t worry about tomorrow — tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough tsuris already!”

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Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge:

it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. — Charles Darwin The Descent of Man

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

During these days, as we start week eleven (or is it fifty), we must endure more going on in a day than took place in a year of the Obama administration.  Rumour, innuendo, facts, false facts and a septic tank full of Russian spies are just what we have to ingest by lunch.  After the White House press briefing all the real reporters need to spend four more hours trying to unwind the spin and present something reasonable a typical American might understand.

This is much faster than what we had to put up with under Nixon.  The vote-loser sitting in the White House, when he is not golfing, is out-lying the previous winner of lies.  Nixon lasted more than one term.  Odds makers are starting to shorten the time for the guy with a dead orange rat on his head.

What can we do?  Besides  #resist?  Other than read up on the Soviet/Russian KGB/SVR/FSB/GRU attacks on the world and America?  Instead of lying awake at night in fear of being deported?

Cutting the cable is more survival than saving a hundred dollars a month.  Putting timers on the television so the power is off during news hours will save replacing broken televisions.  Renewing your Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling and whatever else streaming video is very good, and will make them more profitable, plus you can watch almost anything you want, besides the news.

Books can help.  DVD’s really are good because you have no chance of watching or listening to the news.  Vinyl records present great (or bad) music, plus the challenge of storing and cataloging them.  Going for walks and playing with squirrels puts you in touch with nature.

Avoid stress eating.  And, especially do not get sucked into drinking games based on stupid rantings of a loon.

There is much to do that will help reduce anxiety and fear.  Increase your freedom and happiness.  It just takes a little will power.

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Sunday Serendipity

By Jace, a Trail Mix Contributor

Entirely appropo for the month of April and Spring. When the sound of raindrops seems to be everywhere. Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude. Enjoy the music and as always enjoy your day!

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In case you missed Pogo’s April Fools submission:

ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS—Speaking Wednesday from the grounds of the lavish tropical estate where he plans to spend much of his downtime while in office, Donald Trump unveiled a new presidential retreat he hopes will allow him to escape from the grueling pace of life at Mar-a-Lago.

With its sunny climate, secluded setting, and luxurious accommodations, the 45-acre Caribbean hideaway known as Isola Vista—which sits on a pristine white-sand beach along the island of St. Thomas’ southern coast—will reportedly serve as a haven where the president can find respite from his five-star Palm Beach, FL resort and its many day-to-day pressures.

“After a while, all that time spent at Mar-a-Lago starts to take a toll,” Trump said of the relentless routine of recreation and extravagance he experiences at his oceanfront Florida club. “I’m there so much that sometimes I just need to get away and clear my head. Here in St. Thomas I’ll have a place where I can simply relax and, for a little while at least, forget about all those headaches I left behind in Palm Beach.” — By Pogo, a Trail Mix Contributor

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