Are We Witnessing a Coup Operation Against the Trump White House?

https://www.thenation.com/article/are-we-witnessing-a-coup-operation-against-the-trump-white-house/

Our intelligence apparatus is doing far more than stoking paranoia about the Russian bogeyman—it’s threatening democracy.

By Patrick LawrenceTwitter

The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia. (Reuters / Larry Downing)

A couple of books come to mind amid the relentless leaks emanating from the spooks on either side of the Potomac and, not to be missed, their high approval ratings among our patriots of liberal persuasion.

One is The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, published two summers ago. This is David Talbot’s history of the infamous CIA director’s quite successful effort to turn Langley, Virginia, into a state within a state, perfectly capable of taking on the one whose leaders Americans elect. We now call this “the Deep State,” and Glenn Greenwald put the debate on this point to bed in 140 characters a few days ago: “To summarize journalistic orthodoxy: only fringe conspiracists think a Deep State exists, but all sane people know Kremlin controls US Govt.”

(What exactly is the “Deep State,” anyway? Here’s a rundown of the basics.)

President Kennedy fired the Deep State’s godfather in 1961, after the Bay of Pigs calamity and Dulles’s never-acknowledged support for a failed coup against de Gaulle (believe it, the French president). Taking this to the ultimate, Talbot, who founded Salon 20-odd years ago, makes a persuasive case that Dulles retreated to Georgetown, gathered his loyalists, and probably architected JFK’s assassination two years later. Talbot’s book does not include this incident, but I have it from a former spook of great integrity, now noted for blowing whistles: A few years into Barack Obama’s presidency supporters asked at a fundraiser, “Where’s our progressive foreign policy, Mr. President?” Obama’s reply: “Do you want me to end up another JFK?”

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The other book is I.F. Stone’s The Haunted Fifties, 1953–1963. The great Izzy’s commentary in I.F. Stone’s Weekly during those egregious years was among the few available sources of sanity in a nation of anti-Russian zombies. “To have kept his head in the hurricane of corrupted speech, ritualized patriotism, paranoid terror, and sudden conversions to acceptability,” Arthur Miller wrote in a foreword to the collection, “required something more than his wits and investigative talent and a gift for language.” It did—and does, so let us take a lesson. Stone endured, Miller observed, because he had faith that “a confident, tolerant America” would eventually come back to life.

I propose staying with this thought. But it is no good looking for help among the corrupted, the paranoid, and the suddenly converted.

One finds little confidence and less tolerance among Americans now. One finds instead, a president who has more bad ideas than you’ve had hot dinners—a man with an antidemocratic streak that appears to result from his failure to understand the principles of democratic government. There is only one thing worse than this president. I refer to the liberal reaction to his election. It had been bad but short of dangerous for some time after the night of last November 8. As of last week, I count it a disgrace: It is full of danger now.

There is only one thing worse than this president: the liberal reaction to his election.

I know it is a long time ago, but cast your mind back to those autumn days when mainstream Democrats considered “President Hillary Clinton” a shoo-in. There was going to be a big problem come November 8, they direly warned: All the Trumpets and Trumpettes will not accept the result. They will refuse Clinton her legitimacy. They will deny and resist and rampage. They will be in the streets. They will put our great republic’s political process, our very glory, at risk.

Striking it has been to watch liberals as they commit these very sins. One opinion-page inhabitant predicted “a perpetual fever swamp” after Clinton took the White House. Are we not sloshing through one now? Here is what these people utterly refuse to grasp, from what one can make out because it is too embarrassing: Donald Trump is a consequence. He is not the cause of anything.

To be clear: Given that the Supreme Court broke the democratic process decisively with its Citizens United decision seven years ago, the street is a perfectly logical place to be, in my view. But there is no point in being there unless one is for something and not merely contra. Having failed to think things through, the implicit argument among many of those taking it to the street these days is that things were copacetic before Trump came along and ruined them. Obama now goes down as the Mighty Quinn. The self-delusion is astonishing, and the historians will fix it, one hopes. But in the meantime, this error turns consequential: It lands us with the kind of problem that David Talbot suggests killed Kennedy in Dallas, if you care to entertain the thesis.

Read the histories. The Ivy League culture that still suffuses the CIA has from the first been far more liberal than conservative. The Democratic Party’s Clintonian era is perfectly exemplary on this point. As a smart friend said the other day, John Brennan, who served Bill Clinton and then Obama at the CIA and wanted to serve in an HRC administration, had a lot of trouble sorting out his role in Langley and his relations with the Democrats.

Now look.

It is one thing to tar Donald Trump with a groundless campaign, Nixon-style, so as to insinuate without evidence that he entertains objectionable ties to Russia. That is mere politics. (And I like Reince Priebus’s term for this last Sunday on Fox News. Citing top officials in the IC, which stands for intelligence cabal, Priebus asserted, “They have made it very clear that the story is complete garbage.”)

It is another matter altogether when the descendants of Dulles (whom Priebus suggests are not united on this one) mount what looks awfully like a coup operation against the president of our republic. That is a strong phrase, but it belongs on the table far more than the “complete garbage” you can read in any day’s edition of The New York Times. There I will put it for now, awaiting a historically informed argument for taking it off.

Leaks have the wonderful advantage of requiring no substantiation. With Michael Flynn’s resignation as Trump’s national-security adviser, they have already claimed one prominent victim. Who or what is next? Priebus? Trump himself? Or maybe just crippling the Trump White House’s determination to forge a saner relationship with Moscow will do.

I have seen a few naked emperors in my day, but this one is positively obese (and wears a Speedo at the beach). This is a perception-management campaign quite similar to those mounted decades ago in Iran, Guatemala, and elsewhere. The media are thoroughly complicit, and the objective is perfectly plain but nowhere mentioned. We have an intelligence apparatus that has accreted autonomous power such that no president dares try to control it: This much lies beyond debate. Now we watch as it counters a president who proposes to scrub the single most important passage in the narrative of fear and animosity on which this apparatus depends.

We have an intelligence apparatus that has accreted autonomous power such that no president dares try to control it.

You have two potential casualties here, readers. It is very dangerous to suffer either.

One, this looks like the most serious threat to (what remains of) American democracy since… since the Kennedy assassination, if you accept David Talbot’s case. It comes from the very people everyone from Pat Moynihan to Edward Snowden warned us about—those who abide in the culture of secrecy, the Deep State. Set aside all thought of “it can’t happen here.” At the very least you are watching the threat that it is going to happen.

You want to get Trump out of office? Good idea. Do the work. We all want to see your plan.

Two, if the spooks, the seething mainstream of the Democratic Party, and the neoconservative warmongers succeed in taking down Trump’s détente policy and who knows whom among its advocates, the already distorted role of intelligence agencies in the foreign-policy process will be further consolidated. More immediately, Americans will be condemned to live with Russophobic fear more or less indefinitely. I have only one question on this point, and maybe some (more) elderly fellow can answer it: Was the anti-Communist case that haunted the 1950s so impossibly flimsy as this? Hard to believe, given all the damage it did, but maybe we are about to learn something very awful.

Another question, actually. How did it come to be that what we witness daily now is to be cheered? My own answer runs to an old confusion characteristic of Americans. Most of us are entirely taken up with means. This has been so for a long time. We say we have ideals, ends, but in truth these are museum curiosities now. Our only purpose is merely to sustain the present—which by definition is not an ideal. If it takes a CIA operation to get this done—in this case to kneecap Donald Trump—well, one is all for it.

THE STAKES ARE HIGHER NOW THAN EVER. GET THE NATION IN YOUR INBOX.

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“Bring on the special prosecutor” was the headline on an editorial in the Times a few days after Flynn resigned. All the banners of liberal outrage were aloft by then. At first Flynn’s sin was talking to Russian officials before Trump’s inauguration. When the idiocy of this position finally dawned, it was, as it is now, that Flynn had lied to Trump and Vice President Pence. Unless Flynn broke a law, and he did not by any untainted judgment, this is a matter strictly between Trump and Pence and Flynn, if I am not mistaken. It is the latest peg for the anti-Trump people to hang their hats on, but as grounds for a special prosecutor, it is ridiculous. The proposal is less for a special investigation than for a fishing expedition, and given how the non-evidence of a mail hack was conjured into the “highest confidence” of Russian meddling, it is impossible to say what “evidence” or “conclusions” would be drawn from it.

One cannot figure, in the case of the Times, what the object of the exercise might be. On the one hand, it is a brimming chalice of liberal anger, and so an expression of the Democratic Party’s elites. Recall, the Times confessed on page one last summer that it had abandoned all efforts to report about Trump objectively. On the other, it is full tilt these days finding Russians under every bed: Having subverted our democracy, they are subverting elections in France. They are subverting elections in Holland. They are subverting something or other in Kosovo, I cannot make out quite what. This is typical CIA stuff. Does the Times carry the agency’s ball, then?

Maybe both. Or, as earlier suggested, between the Democrats and Langley, maybe there is only one ball: It is the same for the two of them.

Long ago, New York Times reporter Tom Wicker called the CIA “a Frankenstein monster no one can fully control.”

Long, long ago, Tom Wicker, the much-noted Times reporter and later columnist, called the CIA “a Frankenstein monster no one can fully control.” That was in the edition of April 27, 1966, when the Times published the third in a running series of influential exposés of the CIA’s limitlessly crazy doings. People were outraged, as I suppose it is necessary to explain. This was five years after Arthur Hays Sulzberger stepped down as publisher. Sulzberger served the CIA and had signed a secrecy agreement with the agency, so Wicker could not know of this connection, and it was not in his piece.

To conclude where I began, think for a moment about I.F. Stone during his haunted 1950s. While he was well-regarded by a lot of rank-and-file reporters, few would say so openly. He was PNG among people such as Sulzberger—an outcast. (Among my favorites of Stone’s many good lines: “It’s always fun reading the Washington Post because you never know where you’ll find a page one story.”) Now think of all the good Stone did. “I know that in the fifties,” Arthur Miller wrote in recollection, “to find his Weekly in the mail was to feel a breath of hope for mankind.”

Now think about now.

A few reporters and commentators advise us that the name of the game these days is to sink the single most constructive policy the Trump administration has announced. The rest is subterfuge, rubbish. This is prima facie the case, though you can read it nowhere in the Times or any of the other corporate media. A few have asserted that we may now be witnessing a coup operation against the Trump White House. This is a possibility, in my view. We cannot flick it off the table. With the utmost purpose, I post here one of these pieces. “A Win for the Deep State” came out just after Flynn was forced from office. It is by a writer named Justin Raimondo and appeared in a wholly out-of-bounds web publication called Antiwar.com. I know nothing about either, but it is a thought-provoking piece.

My point here is simple. You have studied the Enlightenment? Good: You know what I mean when I say we are headed into the Endarkenment. The lights upon us are dimming. We have been more or less abandoned by a press that proves incapable of informing us in anything approaching a disinterested fashion. As suggested, either the media are Clintonian liberals before they are newspapers and broadcasters, or they are servants of power before they serve us.

This is the media’s disgrace, but our problem. It imposes a couple of new burdens. We, readers and viewers, must discriminate among all that is put before us so as to make the best judgments we can and, not least, protect our minds. The other side of the coin, what we customarily call “alternative media,” assumes an important responsibility. They must get done, as best they can, what better-endowed media now shirk. To put this simply and briefly, they and we must learn that they are not “alternative” to anything. In the end there is no such thing as “alternative media,” as I often argue. There are only media, and most of ours have turned irretrievably bad.

And now they are doing much to land us in very grave trouble.


TRUMPS 4 MONTH JOB REPORT

Here’s a list of what he’s done in just four months.  How much more can we ask?

Marilyn Barnewall

Proclamation on May 01, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 1, 2017, as Law Day, U.S.A

Executive Order on May 01, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on the Establishment of the American Technology Council

Executive Order on April 29, 2017

Presidential Executive Order Addressing Trade Agreement Violations and Abuses

Executive Order on April 29, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Establishment of Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 2017 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 2017 as National Foster Care Month

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 2017 as Jewish American Heritage Month

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 2017 as Older Americans Month

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 30 through May 6, 2017, as National Charter Schools Week

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 30 through May 6, 2017, as Small Business Week

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 2017, as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Proclamation on April 28, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 1, 2017, as Loyalty Day

Executive Order on April 28, 2017

Presidential Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

Executive Order on April 27, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Presidential Memorandum on April 27, 2017

Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce

Executive Order on April 26, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Statutory Prohibitions on Federal Control of Education

Executive Order on April 26, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act

Executive Order on April 25, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America

Proclamation on April 21, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 23 through April 29, 2017, as National Volunteer Week

Presidential Memorandum on April 21, 2017

Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of the Treasury

Executive Order on April 21, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens

Presidential Memorandum on April 21, 2017

Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of the Treasury

Presidential Memorandum on April 20, 2017

A Letter from the President to Certain Congressional Committee Chairs

Presidential Memorandum on April 20, 2017

Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce

Executive Order on April 18, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American

Proclamation on April 14, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 15 through April 23, 2017, as National Park Week

Presidential Memorandum on April 12, 2017

Memorandum for the Director of the Federal Bureau

Presidential Memorandum on April 11, 2017

A Letter from the President to the President of the Senate

Presidential Memorandum on April 08, 2017

A Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate

Proclamation on April 07, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 9, 2017, as National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day

Proclamation on April 07, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 14, 2017, as Pan American Day and April 9 through April 15, 2017, as Pan American Week

Proclamation on April 06, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 7, 2017, as Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.

Proclamation on April 05, 2017

A Proclamation by President Donald J. Trump Honoring the Memory of John Glenn

Presidential Memorandum on April 03, 2017

Memorandum for the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Proclamation on April 03, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2 through April 8, 2017, as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Executive Order on March 31, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Establishing Enhanced Collection and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties and Violations of Trade and Customs Laws

Proclamation on March 31, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2, 2017 as World Autism Awareness Day

Proclamation on March 31, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Donate Life Month

Proclamation on March 31, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Financial Capability Month

Proclamation on March 31, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Executive Order on March 31, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice

Executive Order on March 31, 2017

Presidential Executive Order Regarding the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits

Proclamation on March 31, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Proclamation on March 31, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as Cancer Control Month

Executive Order on March 29, 2017

Presidential Executive Order Establishing the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

Executive Order on March 28, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth

Presidential Memorandum on March 27, 2017

Presidential Memorandum on The White House Office of American Innovation

Executive Order on March 27, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on the Revocation of Federal Contracting Executive Orders

Proclamation on March 24, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 25, 2017, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy

Presidential Memorandum on March 23, 2017

Notice Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to South Sudan

Presidential Memorandum on March 23, 2017

Message to the Congress Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to South Sudan

Presidential Memorandum on March 20, 2017

Presidential Memorandum on the Delegation of Authority Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

Proclamation on March 17, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 19 through March 25, 2017, as National Poison Prevention Week

Presidential Memorandum on March 16, 2017

Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Executive Order on March 13, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch

Proclamation on March 06, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 5 through March 11, 2017, as National Consumer Protection Week

Executive Order on March 06, 2017

Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States

Presidential Memorandum on March 06, 2017

Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security

Proclamation on March 01, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 2017 as Irish-American Heritage Month

Proclamation on March 01, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 2017 as American Red Cross Month

Proclamation on March 01, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 2017 as Women’s History Month

Executive Order on February 28, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on The White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Executive Order on February 28, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the “Waters of the United States” Rule

Executive Order on February 24, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda

Executive Order on February 09, 2017

Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice

Executive Order on February 09, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking

Executive Order on February 09, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers

Executive Order on February 09, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on a Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety

Presidential Memorandum on February 03, 2017

Presidential Memorandum on Fiduciary Duty Rule

Executive Order on February 03, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System

Proclamation on February 02, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims February as American Heart Month

Executive Order on January 30, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

Executive Order on January 28, 2017

Executive Order: ETHICS COMMITMENTS BY EXECUTIVE BRANCH APPOINTEES

Presidential Memorandum on January 28, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council

Presidential Memorandum on January 28, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

Presidential Memorandum on January 27, 2017

Presidential Memorandum on Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces

Executive Order on January 27, 2017

EXECUTIVE ORDER: PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES

Proclamation on January 26, 2017

National School Choice Week 2017 Proclamation

Executive Order on January 25, 2017

Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

Executive Order on January 25, 2017

Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Presidential Memorandum on January 24, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing

Presidential Memorandum on January 24, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of American Pipelines

Executive Order on January 24, 2017

Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects

Presidential Memorandum on January 24, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline

Presidential Memorandum on January 24, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Presidential Memorandum on January 23, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy

Presidential Memorandum on January 23, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement

Presidential Memorandum on January 23, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze

Presidential Memorandum on January 20, 2017

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

Executive Order on January 20, 2017

Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal

Trump, Russia, Comey And Piling On

May 21, 2017 Read More Articles by Marilyn M Barnewall

Part 1

Americans dislike the concept of “piling on.”  We even have rules to prevent it in sporting events like football.

Liberal Democrats do not understand this concept.

It’s pretty easy to identify piling on in a football game.  In politics it’s more difficult – until the public has been so badly abused it reaches a tipping point and just stops believing anything anyone says.  It is part of the reason people who have supported President Trump remain loyal.  They understand the concept of piling on… your enemies do it when they’re losing and need to injure an important player on the other team to have a chance for victory… if you call that victory.

May 21, 2017 Read More Articles by Marilyn M Barnewall

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