Monday, October 14, 2019

A Deep State Coup

As the old saying goes: even paranoiacs have enemies. Heck, even Donald Trump has enemies and he isn’t even a paranoiac.

Today, we have Matt Taibbi, certainly not a member of the vast right wing conspiracy, arguing cogently that America’s intelligence community is mounting a coup against an elected president. Taibbi is not a Trump fan, but he values America’s institutions and is alarmed to see intelligence agencies trying to overturn the result of a fair election. (via Maggie’s Farm)

So, we again add Taibbi’s name to the list of American liberals who have maintained their integrity at a time when good character is in increasingly short supply.

Taibbi opens his column:

My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump. Many Americans don’t see this because they’re not used to waking up in a country where you’re not sure who the president will be by nightfall. They don’t understand that this predicament is worse than having a bad president.

The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump’s inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.

So, the intelligence community declared war against the American president. Recent information has suggested that none other than Barack Obama incited this effort, but Taibbi does not go there.

It began with the Russia collusion narrative:

The first big shot was fired in early January, 2017, via a headline, “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.” This tale, about the January 7th presentation of former British spy Christopher Steele’s report to then-President-elect Trump, began as follows:

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

Four intelligence chiefs in the FBI’s James Comey, the CIA’s John Brennan, the NSA’s Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, presented an incoming president with a politically disastrous piece of information, in this case a piece of a private opposition research report.

If you think that these leaders of America’s intelligence agencies were acting in good faith, think again. Taibbi continues.

However, we know from Comey’s  January 7, 2017 memo to deputy Andrew McCabe and FBI General Counsel James Baker there was another explanation. Comey wrote:

I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted [Trump] to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.

If that is too complicated to grasp, Taibbi conducts a thought experiment… rethinking the issue in terms of a Barack Obama:

Imagine if a similar situation had taken place in January of 2009, involving president-elect Barack Obama. Picture a meeting between Obama and the heads of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, along with the DIA, in which the newly-elected president is presented with a report complied by, say, Judicial Watch, accusing him of links to al-Qaeda. Imagine further that they tell Obama they are presenting him with this information to make him aware of a blackmail threat, and to reassure him they won’t give news agencies a “hook” to publish the news.

But then, of course, the news was leaked to the press and to Congressional Democrats.

As the narrative was spun, Trump had been compromised by Russia. He was about to sell out American interests to the Kremlin. In addition, the intelligence agency chiefs who had exposed the perfidy were thee true patriots. 

The leak cast a shadow over the Trump presidency, by defining it in terms of the possibility that Trump was a traitor. Taibbi calls it an act of insubordination, damaging not just to the president but to the nation. And it was certainly not the first and only time that these agencies had been acting on their own authority:

The leak of the January, 2017 “meeting” between the four chiefs and Trump – which without question damaged both the presidency and America’s standing abroad – was an unprecedented act of insubordination.

It was also a bold new foray into domestic politics by intelligence agencies that in recent decades began asserting all sorts of frightening new authority. They were kidnapping foreigners, assassinating by drone, conducting paramilitary operations without congressional notice, building an international archipelago of secret prisons, and engaging in mass warrantless surveillance of Americans. We found out in a court case just last week how extensive the illegal domestic surveillance has been, with the FBI engaging in tens of thousands of warrantless searches involving American emails and phone numbers under the guise of combating foreign subversion.

So, our spy agencies and our law enforcement agencies have injected themselves into domestic politics, in order to save the fading legacy of the Obama presidency and to obstruct the functioning of government:

The agencies’ new trick is inserting themselves into domestic politics using leaks and media pressure. The “intel chiefs” meeting was just the first in a series of similar stories, many following the pattern in which a document was created, passed from department from department, and leaked. 

The Ukraine story is yet another one of these fabricated stories,  leaked by an intelligence official, greeted with open arms by Congressional Democrats:

To be sure, “people familiar with the matter” leaked a lot of true stories in the last few years, but many were clearly problematic even at the time of release. Moreover, all took place in the context of constant, hounding pressure from media figures, congressional allies like Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, as well as ex-officials who could make use of their own personal public platforms in addition to being unnamed sources in straight news reports. They used commercial news platforms to argue that Trump had committed treason, needed to be removed from office, and preferably also indicted as soon as possible.

According to Taibbi, Trump was never really sincere when he attacked the deep state. And yet, events have proven him prescient:

Trump’s campaign antagonism toward the military and intelligence world was at best a millimeter thick. Like almost everything else he said as a candidate, it was a gimmick, designed to get votes. That he was insincere and full of it and irresponsible, at first at least, when he attacked the “deep state” and the “fake news media,” doesn’t change the reality of what’s happened since. Even paranoiacs have enemies, and even Donald “Deep State” Trump is a legitimately elected president whose ouster is being actively sought by the intelligence community.

By railing against Trump, the media and the former intelligence chiefs have gone beyond Trump’s purported mistakes:

Trump, at least insofar as we know, has not used section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor political rivals. He hasn’t deployed human counterintelligence “informants” to follow the likes of Hunter Biden. He hasn’t maneuvered to secure Special Counsel probes of Democrats.

And while Donald Trump conducting foreign policy based on what he sees on Fox and Friends is troubling, it’s not in the same ballpark as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times engaging in de facto coverage partnerships with the FBI and CIA to push highly politicized, phony narratives like Russiagate.

He continues:

Trump’s tinpot Twitter threats and cancellation of White House privileges for dolts like Jim Acosta also don’t begin to compare to the danger posed by Facebook, Google, and Twitter – under pressure from the Senate – organizing with groups like the Atlantic Council to fight “fake news” in the name of preventing the “foment of discord.”

We live in a nation where rogue intelligence agents are driving the political agenda. They are also undermining the president:

I don’t believe most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.

CIA/FBI-backed impeachment could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Donald Trump thinks he’s going to be jailed upon leaving office, he’ll sooner or later figure out that his only real move is to start acting like the “dictator” MSNBC and CNN keep insisting he is. Why give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker? That would be the endgame in a third world country, and it’s where we’re headed, unless someone calls off this craziness.

By now, many of them are becoming hysterical. If they are exposed they might be facing prison time. Their supposed patriotism is merely a cover for their fear of prosecution. This means that Trump and Trumpism must be destroyed, as quickly as possible.


UbuMaccabee said...

Matt Tiabbi was one of the few liberals who didn’t fall asleep in their civics classes. He gets almost everything wrong about conservatives, but he does get the importance of the democratic transfer of power right. We are a hairbreadth from losing that key indicator that we are a civilized republic based on the rule of law. It will never return once lost. And it will change the way other nations view us. We will be closer to Russia than Denmark. The British are up against the same forces of illiberalism. They had their vote, now vote again and again until you get it right.

If the ruling elite in power in this administration fail to exact meaningful accountability for everyone involved in this attempted coup by the federal government and the media, of a democratically elected executive, then the US Constitution as it has existed is dead, and the rules we all agreed to be governed by are suspended. We may sleepwalk and pretend for quite a while, but the justification for it to exist is gone. I’ll never acknowledge it again. Original USA Constitution, 1789 to 2016 (I’m setting aside the Articles). We had a long run.

What shall we call the new media/deep-state government? The Articles of Ingsocial Media? The Kakistocracy? The Harvard Rules? How about “The Hunger Games?”

I can accept that. I also accept two corollaries: 1. Get as much as you can before the next big structural shift and relocate to the part of the country with the most stable, cultural traditions that resemble your own. There is no “we” anymore, there is only your family and your tribe to consider. 2. Hope for Julius Caesar and not Robert Mugabe.

I recommend forming familial alliances with useful and practical people, auto mechanics and the like. The most valuable vocation on Dead Tour was always auto repair; those guys were treated like royalty. Also, military connections are beneficial. Farming is excellent.

Ubu the paranoid masculine hysteric zombie prepper.

Anonymous said...

Since Ubu genuinely cares about what 50% of the population think, some daily sensitivity training.

Sam L. said...

Mr. Trump needs (now, I've said this before, but two or three years ago) to put on his Hercules outfit and divert the Potomac River through ALL the Executive Branch offices and scour them clean. They are FILTHY.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

We need to decide whether elected or unelected people run our country.

Again, I say this is We the People vs. “We the Really, Really, Really Smart Experts Who Know Everything About Everything.” WHo do you want to live under? Because, as Ubu points out, you have a choice... for now.

Do the President and the Congress have the power, or is it lowly district court judges, the permanent bureaucracy or Antifa thugs?

So far as I can see, the President has been stymied at every turn by unelected people who have no accountability. Week after week, month after month, there is a new “scandal” that is positioned to “bring down Trump’s presidency,” with these fantastic allegations from peripheral nobodies. Comey, McCabe, Mueller, CBF, Charlottesville White Nationalists vs. Antifa, the Brennan/Clapper CIA/NSA/DIA, and now... an anonymous “whistleblower” who isn’t sure if he/she wants to come forward. All interference is timed for the weekend news cycle — every Thursday is game day. Like clockwork. Do your research. It all kicks off on Thursday, almost every time. This week it was Syria/Turkey.

It’s madness. We cannot govern our country this way. These are coordinated attempts by a “shadow government” to run the country through the Big Enemedia. Who could it be? My bet is it’s former Obama Administration officials en masse — likely led by Valerie Jarrett and The Messiah himself.

We are watching a coup by the permanent bureaucracy. And we’re lucky there haven’t been serious security threats during this time, or the meddlers would have blood on their hands. The artillery bracketing of our troops in northern Syria might be the first real military step. And now Turkey claims it’s holding onto our NATO nukes as leverage. I say Trump should send in SEAL teams to disable all of them. Tonight. And then kick Turkey out of NATO. The whole Russia containment strategy is a bust, and so is NATO. Protect the Poles and move on.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Anonymous, because I am assuming you are posting here in good faith, I read the Dickinsonian article.

Not sure what you’d like us to take from this. You seem quite cryptic in your comments. Not sure if they’re constructive or snark.

You tell me.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I’m with Ubu in that Taibbi listened in civics class. We may not agree on much, but as a culture we need to agree on a set of basic rules. For as long as I’ve been alive, I thought that was the U.S. Constitution. What I am hearing all too often now is that we have “systemic problems.” Boo #&$%ing hoo! I’m sorry you can’t get your way all the time, but the Constitution is reflective of a revolutionary philosophy — the relationship between the sovereign citizen and government — limitations on what government can do. I’m sorry people don’t like those limits, but that’s the lay of the land. There’s an Amendment process. Use it.

I thought about listing the first 8 Amendments and talking about how they are being eroded, but it’ll be too long. Suffice to say that the California legislature just passed laws that make the Second Amendment meaningless based on multiple channels of hearsay. It’s a disgrace. The Left seems to put a lot of value in hearsay these days. These are HUAC tactics that are turning into East German Stasi strategies. It’s very dangerous. And no one on the Left worries that it will be turned around on THEM. That tells me something... that they feel confident they control the levers of power on such issues.

Time to wake up.

UbuMaccabee said...

I cannot emphasize this enough, if you want to really get a line on where we are, with a perfect historical parallel, read Stanley Payne's "The Spanish Civil War." It is an absolute must-read. It will make your hair stand on end. If you really want to see what the left is, and how they think and operate, and just how nihilistic and destructive they are, this is the book that puts it in the proper account. And almost everything you thought you knew about the Spanish Civil War is wrong. Payne is a heroic liberal and a true scholar. The problem with liberalism is cowardice, always has been. They just cannot stand up to the Left, and by the time they do, it's too late.

UbuMaccabee said...

Anon, loved the article, btw. Funny stuff from the black racist hippo. She's just sorry she could not afford me at the last 'Annual Dickenson White-Boy Slave Auction'. Her loss, I'm handsome, and I don't come cheap.

It looks like she got bum-rushed by the comments section, but she'll keep her gig. Is there anything a black, alphabet woman can say or do that would get her fired from a college job?

Also amusing, her favorite class was "Fat Studies." No, really. That's like a Columbian taking Spanish 101.

David Foster said...

"And now Turkey claims it’s holding onto our NATO nukes as leverage."

I certainly hope these weapons require a password to activate, and include a feature to disable them in event of tampering.

In any event, if Turkey is making threats like this, it should be sufficient reason to throw them out of NATO.