Open Thread: Spy Guys, He’s Got ‘Em!

An official with knowledge of the make-up of the crowd says that there were about 40 people who’d been invited by the Trump, Mike Pence and Rep. Mike Pompeo teams. The Trump team originally expected Rep. Pompeo, R-Kansas, to be sworn in during the event as the next CIA director, but the vote to confirm him was delayed on Friday by Senate Democrats. Also sitting in the first several rows in front of the president was the CIA’s senior leadership, which was not cheering the remarks.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday denied that there were “Trump or White House folks” in the first rows.

“There were no Trump or White House folks sitting down. They were all CIA (unintelligible). So, not in rows one-through-anything, from what I’m told.” Spicer said at the White House briefing Monday. He did not address whether Pompeo invitees were in the first rows.

A source who is familiar with the planning of the president’s CIA visit saw Spicer’s briefing, however, and firmly denied Spicer’s response was accurate…

The CIA was Mr. Trump’s first official agency visit for a reason, it was to signal a new beginning. At the outset of the speech, the president expressed his support for the CIA, “There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump.”

But it is what he said later in front of the CIA’s revered Memorial Wall (a monument to CIA officers killed in the line of duty) — complaints about the media’s coverage of his relationship with the intelligence community and its assessments of the crowd size at his inauguration — that may be harder to erase from the minds of the intelligence community.

Gonna be a very useful meme: NOT. NORMAL.

(And I cannot tell you how weird it feels, as a lifelong leftist, to be siding with the CIA, speaking of ‘not normal’.)

From a medival proverb, a culture that knew much about both aspiring dictators and vengeance: God punishes all knaves and fools — but the fools first.

The President-Asterisk had a lot of us convinced he was a knave, but now he’s acting the fool.

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Toad Kisses Toady

Palate cleansers:

Late Night Endless Smoke & Mirrors Open Thread: Anonymous Discusses Wikileaks


Speaking of subverting the deep state — Commentor Magurakurin flagged this series of tweets a few days ago. Excerpts:

It’s never as simple as Four legs good, two legs bad. Or even Four legs good, two legs BETTER…

President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

I’m sure this will piss some of y’all off, but maybe it was the right thing to do. Manning seems like a lost soul, vulnerable to the manipulation of unscrupulous people (i.e., the scumbag Assange). She’ll get out next May instead of 2045. Via the NYT:

In recent days, the White House had signaled that Mr. Obama was seriously considering granting Ms. Manning’s commutation application, in contrast to a pardon application submitted on behalf of the other large ­scale leaker of the era, Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who disclosed archives of top secret surveillance files and is living as a fugitive in Russia.

Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” he said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”

In other words, don’t hold yer breath, Eddie. What do y’all think?

Late Nightmare Open Thread: “Expertise” Is for LUZERS!!!

It’s not like I trust these particular individuals, but it would be nice if there was someone in the President-Asterisk’s office who knew that electrical outlets were not made for having forks stuck in them. And from what I know of corporate practices (in or out of government), we have to assume that if the top offices are being filled with newbies and know-nothings, then the bureaucratic middle ranks are now divided between nervous people busy shopping around their resumes, and time-servers/incompetents/fellow true believers…

From the company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics, the Washington Post, “‘Never Trump’ national-security Republicans fear they have been blacklisted“:

They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again.

But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are “PNG” — personae non gratae.

Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation…

The president-elect has virtually no experience in national security and foreign policy, and his transition team could presumably benefit from the broadest pool of applicants for the influential appointive positions in the State Department, Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.

But the purportedly blacklisted figures report to their jobs at Washington law firms and think tanks in a state of indefinite limbo as their colleagues, some working in the same offices, are flirting with potential administration jobs.

Last week, the Trump transition held a private briefing for secretary-of-state nominee Rex Tillerson to prepare him for his Senate confirmation hearing. One former Bush national security official who works at a Washington think tank said that some of his younger staff assistants were invited to participate but that he was not. He assumes it was because he signed the letter.

“It’s hostile,” said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of further retribution. “It’s not just that we’re frozen out. . . . I was told they said there was an enemies list.”

Among those who signed at least one of the letters are Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the first two secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security; two former U.S. trade ambassadors, Carla Hills and Robert Zoellick; two former heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, John Negroponte and retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden; a former ambassador to NATO; and several former deputy secretaries of various U.S. government agencies.
Read more

Open Thread: Rep. Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King Lunges to Defend His Title

… as the Dumbest Mean Legislator / Meanest Dumb Legislator in DC. Sure, Donald Trump has the advantage of being born with a gilt-plated spoon in his mouth (and he never risks being confused with Rep. Pete ‘IRA Mucker’ King). But when it comes to world-class vicious stupidity, STEVE KING WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!

I guess if you assume the real American voter is a cruel, ignorant bigot wholly in thrall to megacorporate filth producers, Iowa really deserves its premier spot in the quadrennial presidential race.

Open Thread: Bad-Person LOL of the Evening

(Jeff Danziger’s website)

It’s okay to laugh, because Assange is waaay too paranoid to trust Trump, who’s too narcissistic to admit some 400-ounce Aussie hacker on his bed at the Ecuadorian Embassy might’ve had anything to do with Donnie’s YUUUGE electoral victory. And the hapless puppets stuck monitoring Wikileaks’ tweet feed can’t recognize/admit either half of that equation!