March 13, 2017 Last Updated 8:37 am

New executive order may be tied to slashing of size of government; Microwaves that spy on us, latest claim from Kelly Anne Conway

Washington DC and the Northeast brace for a winter storm to arrive late Monday, likely to shutdown much of the east and the Federal government on Tuesday

This winter is, apparently, not over. As I write this, the Midwest is still in the middle of a snow storm, with lake effect snow expected to hit Northwest Indiana and the south Chicago area the rest of the day. But the media will be concentrating on the huge storm expected to dump six to ten inches of snow on Washington DC before it is over tomorrow.

Meanwhile, it appears that the president is going to dump something of his own, and it might have a more long lasting effect that the snow:

What is this? This morning none of the major news organizations seem to be writing about this, but it is on the president’s schedule for 4:30 EDT to sign the new executive order. Maybe it is tied to his budget, to be released on Thursday. By the looks of it, it appears the president’s idea of government is to mimic Sparta, with sole role of the Federal government to be war.

The Washington Post, Damian Paletta:

Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce

ides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role…

…Trump and his advisers have said that they believe the federal workforce is too big, and that the federal government spends — and wastes — too much money. They have said that Washington — the federal workers and contractors, among others — has benefited from government largesse while many other Americans have suffered. Federal spending, they have argued, crowds the private sector and piles regulations and bureaucracy onto companies.

Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, has said Trump will lead a “deconstruction of the administrative state.” On Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Obama loyalists had “burrowed into government.” Last month, Trump said the government would have to “do more with less.”

It drives me crazy that the US now has a more ridiculous government than the UK. No, we still don’t have a queen, but I’ve sure that is coming eventually. Instead we have the president’s Twitter account and Kelly Anne Conway.

Her latest claim, following Bowling Green, has something to do with spy cameras in microwaves. At least that was her claim before everyone pointed out how stupid that was.

I am trying, though, to get my head around the reasons why someone would want to put a cameral inside a microwave. All I can imagine one would see would be food spinning around slowly. Maybe some get off on that, I don’t know.

The Telegraph, Helena Horton:

Kellyanne Conway mocked for ‘spy microwaves’ claims during interview about Obama ‘wire-tapping’

Kellyanne Conway has been the subject of derision after making bizarre claims about the surveillance of the Donald Trump campaign.

After being asked about the claims he was wire-tapped by Barack Obama, the advisor suggested that enemies could potentially spy on the president through televisions and by putting hidden cameras in microwaves…

…“You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.”

The advisor then claimed monitoring could be done with “microwaves that turn into cameras”, adding: “We know this is a fact of modern life.”

The Washington Post, Philip Bump:

Kellyanne Conway on surveillance: ‘I’m not in the job of having evidence’

Kellyanne Conway was doing okay. She’d effectively neutralized the bubbling outcry over comments she made to the Bergen Record, in which she defended President Trump’s evidence-free claims of wiretapping by noting that various household devices could be used to surveil a target. “You can surveil people through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera,” she’d said, comments that were more about Team Trump’s long-standing use of isolated anecdotes to rebut broad trends than they were about Conway auditioning for a role in a James Bond film.

So when Chris Cuomo brought the whole thing up on CNN’s “New Day,” she effectively repeated the dismissal she had given to ABC News earlier: She was talking generally about how spying could take place, not making specific allegations.

On CNN, though, her phrasing was a bit more fraught. “I’m not Inspector Gadget,” she said. “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”

“However,” she continued, “I’m not in the job of having evidence. That’s what investigations are for. I have said many, many times throughout the week that the president is pleased that the House and Senate intelligence committees have agreed that this should be part of the investigation that already exists about Russia and the campaign, an investigation that apparently has gone nowhere so far.”

This is a little throw away story, but it is fascinating to see how it is being played on Fox.

A woman is said to have come up to White House press secretary Sean Spicer and asked something to the effect of “what’s it like to work for a fascist?” Fox is portraying this as “ambushed” on the web, and “bombarded” in the broadcast version. Even more over-the-top is what they are saying about Spicer’s rather lame response that “we have a great country.” Apparently this is being considered a brilliant retort.

Our standards certainly have been lowered.

But expect more of this stuff from Fox. Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump have made a pact, and both will be out to protect each other over the next few years. Trump made his first down payment on this with the firing of Preet Bharara, the U.S attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan.

Fox News, Alyssa Madruga:

Spicer ambushed by woman in Apple Store

A woman questioned White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday in an Apple Store, asking him what it is like working for a “fascist.”

Shree Chauhan posted a video of the encounter on social media over the weekend. In the video she is heard asking Sean Spicer if he “helped with the Russia stuff.”

Spicer responded to Chauhan by saying “we have a great country.”

New York Magazine, Gabriel Sherman:

The Big Winner in Donald Trump’s Decision to Fire Preet Bharara Might Be Rupert Murdoch

Throughout his six-decade career working on three continents, Rupert Murdoch has used his media properties to advance the prospects of politicians whose policies help his business interests. Whether it was Margaret Thatcher’s union-busting in the 1980s or Rudy Giuliani’s campaign to put Fox News on Time Warner’s cable system in the 1990s, Murdoch went all-out for leaders who allowed him to protect and expand his corporate empire.

Since Election Day, Murdoch, now the executive chairman of Fox News, has personally nudged the network in a more pro-Trump direction, sources tell me. That effort included anointing Trump-friendly Tucker Carlson as the successor to Megyn Kelly as host in the 9 p.m. slot…

…Trump’s decision to fire Bharara ignited speculation that it was designed to blunt investigations like the Fox News probe…

…Given that Fox News is Murdoch’s most profitable division, the prospect of indictments is a serious problem. “They’re really worried,” one source close to the network said. Another insider said that Fox News executives considered the investigation “political” because Bharara had been appointed by Barack Obama. Which is why, for Murdoch, it must be a relief that Bharara’s replacement could be an ally.

Home page photo: Blizzard Brooklyn by Jason Persse used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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