The new normal

There are always plenty of things going on. There are the TV news breaks and press conferences. There are the incoming appointments and cabinet picks. There are the political players jockeying for high position, and the eventual winners and losers. There are the endless talks of policy and tone, priorities and attitude.

It’s semi-quadrennial political theater, as an old president ends his administration and the new one begins. This time around, though, it’s bizarre.

President-elect Donald Trump’s national security adviser and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. have been in frequent contact in recent weeks, including on the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for election-related hacking, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

A U.S. Army general is meeting with the ambassador of a country openly hostile to us. This is after our own intelligence agencies determined Russia’s role in a number of high-profile cybercrimes. He’s only the incoming National Security Advisor, someone who’d be interested in defending the United States against hackers, particularly when they’re agents of a foreign government.

We’re through the gilt-leaf mirror here. The brush-off at the end is solid.

After initially denying that Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak spoke Dec. 29, a Trump official said late Friday that the transition team was aware of one call on the day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions.

Flynn? ‘Lunatic’ Flynn? Calling a Russian ambassador!?! What, are you crazy? Oh of course! That one time, why not! What a bunch of cloak-and-stagger.

More weirdness – oh no, please. Not her. Dear God in heaven not Monica Crowley again.

Conservative commentator Monica Crowley, who is slated to serve in a top national security communications role in Donald Trump’s presidential administration, plagiarized thousands of words of her 2000 dissertation for her Columbia University Ph.D., a CNN KFile review has found.

Her own Ph.D. thesis. That is…sad.

CNN’s KFile has found nearly 40 lengthy instances of Crowley lifting paragraphs from numerous sources, including several scholarly texts, the Associated Press, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The revelation comes on the heels of another CNN KFile investigation, which found more than 50 instances of plagiarism in Crowley’s 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” On Tuesday, the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, announced that it would stop selling the book until “the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

To the scoreboard. When Monica writes an op/ed for a wall street paper, she plagiarizes. The Journal pulls the article. When she writes a book for a major publishing house, she plagiarizes. Harper Collins pulls the book. When she writes a thesis for a university, she plagiarizes. Columbia has to figure out what to do with her degree.

But as far as Donald is concerned…

“Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration,” a statement from a transition spokesperson said… “Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”

…Monica is the best. She’s exceptional and thoughtful, i.e. ‘full of thoughts’ [ed: leasing, with an option to buy]. I’m sure he likes her now all the more. She’s really an amazing woman, tremendous, and double hooley skree in-your-face. I hope Donald keeps her around forever cuz’ loozer.

And then…this:

Donald Trump’s inauguration planners incredibly picked a company with the name “Don’s Johns” to supply the porta-potties for the event — and now they’re scrambling to cover them with masking tape…

The likely culprits are inaugural workers concerned the name would anger the notoriously thin-skinned Trump.

Damn. We came sooo close.

Add: More on the General’s bizarre behavior.

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…

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.

Very weird.

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