Remember the good old days when the resident faculty did Non-Cynical Saturdays?

This isn’t that…. (More)

It’s not that I’m cynical. Squirrels rarely are. But we have very sensitive noses, enough to tell if insects have nibbled their way into a nut, and to find nuts we’ve buried. So I can smell a sludge puddle from quite aways off … and this morning the puddle is extra sludgy.

“And if not, why not?”

For example, yesterday Director James Comey refused to answer questions – in a closed hearing – about whether the FBI are investigating the Lapdog-elect’s ties to Russia:

Embattled FBI director James Comey has refused to clarify whether his organization is investigating Donald Trump’s ties to Russia in a closed briefing on Friday for members of Congress, angering legislators who recall his high-profile interjections about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Guardian has learned.

Comey’s lack of candor in a classified setting, intended to brief members on the intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, follows a public rebuff this week to senators seeking clarification.

In that earlier hearing, Comey said he would “never comment” on a potential FBI investigation “in an open forum like this”, raising expectations among some attendees of Friday’s briefing that Comey would put the issue to rest in a classified setting.

But according to sources attending the closed-door Friday morning meeting, that was not the case.

So, he would “never comment” on a potential FBI investigation, unless of course it’s an investigation of Hillary Clinton … and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) noted the distinction:

Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who had pressed Comey during a September hearing about his criteria for acknowledging an investigation, sharply asked Comey if the director was applying a double standard to Trump.

Comey had said in September testimony that his standard was a “a need for public to be reassured, [and] when it’s obvious, it’s apparent, given our activities, public activities that the investigation is ongoing”.

Nadler, according to a different source, then asked Comey in the Friday meeting: “Do you believe that standard has been met with reference to the possible investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible connections to the Russian government? And if not, why not?”

Comey dodged the question, sparking anger among attendees.

As Scott Lemieux writes:

Even in post-parody America, this is astounding conduct.

Here’s the thing: Obama should fire Comey. He should explain exactly why he’s being fired. Every day Comey remains the FBI Director helps to normalize a stolen election. And if the alleged downside is that Trump could appoint a director who’s a mendacious hack who would let Republicans do whatever they want, I have some news: we already have one.

Yep, we do.

“I’ll see them off, but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory”

Meanwhile, the God-King-elect will fire the commander of the D.C. National Guard … in the middle of the inaugural:

The Army general who heads the D.C. National Guard and has an integral part in overseeing the inauguration said Friday that he will be removed from command effective at 12:01 p.m. Jan. 20, just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz’s departure will come in the middle of the presidential ceremony – classified as a national special security event – and while thousands of his troops are deployed to help protect the nation’s capital during an inauguration he has spent months helping to plan.

“The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post. During the inauguration, Schwartz will command not only members of the D.C. Guard but also 5,000 unarmed troops dispatched from across the country to help. He also will oversee military air support protecting Washington during the inauguration.

“My troops will be on the street,” said Schwartz, who turned 65 in October. “I’ll see them off, but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He said he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”

Wingnut paranoia peddler Pamela Gellar insists that’s necessary for security reasons:

The left has all but declared war on civilized America and our newly elected President. Security for the inauguration is at the highest levels. And rightly so: the left and co-conspirators are violent, irrational and evil.
[…]
Obama’s people must be removed.

Not that facts matter a damn to Gellar, but, General Schwartz was appointed in June of 2008 … by President George W. Bush.

In a related edict, the God-King-elect is forcing all U.S. ambassadors to return home by Inauguration Day:

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, according to several American diplomats familiar with the plan, breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods.

The mandate – issued “without exceptions,” according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said – threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain. In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions on a case-by-case basis to allow a handful of ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months.

So the youngest crown prince – Barron von Trump – will stay in New York through the end of the school year. But ambassadors’ kids get ripped out of their schools in the middle of the year because, well, they were appointed by He Who Must Be Erased From History.

“This building doesn’t see anything necessarily inappropriate….”

Also – sniff-sniff-gag – it turns out, on the day President Obama issued new sanctions to punish Russia for meddling with our election, National Security Advisor-to-be Michael Flynn spent much of the day on the phone with the Russian embassy:

Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, held five phone calls with Russia’s ambassador to Washington on the day the United States retaliated for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, three sources familiar with the matter said.

The calls occurred between the time the Russian embassy was told about U.S. sanctions and the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had decided against reprisals, said the sources. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing internal U.S. government deliberations about the issue.

The calls raised fresh questions among some U.S. officials about contacts between Trump’s advisers and Russian officials at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies contend that Moscow waged a multifaceted campaign of hacking and other actions to boost Republican Trump’s election chances against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Predictably, the Lapdog-elect’s team insist this was mere coincidence and they never mentioned the sanctions or election meddling or anything like that, just take their word for it. The State Department’s response was … less-than-deft:

That sentiment was echoed Friday by State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “This building doesn’t see anything necessarily inappropriate about contact between members of the incoming administration and foreign officials,” Toner said.

Okay, a “building” doesn’t “see” anything. But if that “building” can “see,” then that word “necessarily” is groaning under all that weight:

The other two sources, however, said the timing of the calls raised a question about whether Flynn had given Kislyak any assurances to soothe Russian anger over the U.S. moves.

If that were the case, it would have raised a possible entanglement with the Logan Act. The 1799 law bars unauthorized U.S. citizens from negotiating with foreign governments with which the United States has disputes. It is aimed at preventing the undermining of official U.S. government positions.

But we’ll just take their word for it that such a conversation never happened. Sure….

“‘Trump Enforcement Posse’ or ‘Trump Enforcement Team’”

Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Chaffetz is threatening to subpoena Walter Shaub, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, because Shaub has the gall to say his office should vet the God-King-elect’s nominees. Such as Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, who somehow left a $125,000 contribution to an anti-union PAC out of her Senate disclosure form. Then there’s Rep. Steve King (R-IA) proposing an unconstitutional fetal heartbeat anti-abortion bill. Oh, and Arizona state representative Bob Thorpe has proposed a bill to ban state schools, community colleges, and universities from discussing “social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class of people.” Because teaching social justice is “racially insensitive” to white people. Yes, really.

Oh, and a bunch of ex-Breitbart-ers have a novel idea:

Patrick Howley, a former Breitbart News reporter, left the site under vague circumstances back in November. Howley told me at the time that he was leaving of his own volition because the site had become more “controlled” after the departure of Steve Bannon, the organization’s former chairman who was hired for a top job in the Trump campaign and will be the White House’s chief strategist in the incoming administration.

Now, however, Howley and other Breitbart News alumni are starting their own group designed to enforce Trump’s agenda, combined with a planned media arm. So far, the group, which they are calling the America First Project, has surfaced in the press for trying to unseat the current chairman of the Florida Republican Party, who is seen by some Trump allies as having been untrustworthy during the election.

Maybe you think that word “enforce” is too strong. But the Atlantic’s Rosie Gray didn’t pull it out of thin air:

[Dustin] Stockton said the group will be structured for now through an already extant (albeit bare-bones) PAC called the Western Representation PAC in order to be able to launch quickly. Stockton is still working out the details of how the group will be legally structured, but for now it will be a “hybrid PAC”: a traditional political action committee operating in tandem with a super PAC.

Stockton’s background is in the tea party groups of the early 2010s, and he was a reporter for Breitbart News until shortly after this election. His new group has an email list of around 200,000 addresses, Stockton said, to raise small-dollar donations, though they say they want big donors as well. Stockton would not identify which donors they are talking to. They have set a fundraising goal of $8 to $10 million in the first year.

One idea being kicked around is that donors could receive “Trump Enforcement Posse” or “Trump Enforcement Team” badges, a proposal that encapsulates the group’s ambitions and approach.

Howley and Stockton have devised a series of escalating “pressure points” that they will use against members of Congress and other members of the “permanent political class” who they believe must be brought in line with Trump’s agenda.

Among their proposed tactics: “Organize local protests, town hall confrontations, and other grassroots action” including “ambush interviews.”

Maybe rather than badges, they should send out “Trump Enforcement” shirts. Brown seems like an appropriate color….

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Photo Credit: Richard Honour (Experiment.com)

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Good day and good nuts