Monday, March 6, 2017

"Deep State" Goes Mainstream

There appears to be a new kind of journalism in the prestige press. Call it "Trump Porn." A wonderful example is "Inside Trump’s fury: The president rages at leaks, setbacks and accusations," written by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker (formerly of The New York Times) and published by The Washing Post.

The story opens as if it were a pulp thriller:
President Trump spent the weekend at “the winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago, the secluded Florida castle where he is king. The sun sparkles off the glistening lawn and warms the russet clay Spanish tiles, and the steaks are cooked just how he likes them (well done). His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner — celebrated as calming influences on the tempestuous president — joined him. But they were helpless to contain his fury.
Trump was mad — steaming, raging mad.
Trump’s young presidency has existed in a perpetual state of chaos. The issue of Russia has distracted from what was meant to be his most triumphant moment: his address last Tuesday to a joint session of Congress. And now his latest unfounded accusation — that Barack Obama tapped Trump’s phones during last fall’s campaign — had been denied by the former president and doubted by both allies and fellow Republicans.
From there the article looks forward to Trump's busy week: He is going to reintroduce a purportedly court-proof entry ban for certain Muslim countries, and then he is going to trot out his repeal of Obamacare.

The rest of the piece focuses on the Trump administration obsession with the deep state (without, oddly, providing a criticism of that obsession). The facts are pretty plain. Trump gave a successful speech to Congress last Tuesday night, but before he could bask too long in the positive news coverage, the Jeff-Sessions-talked-to-the-Russians story took over for the remainder of the week:
Trump, meanwhile, has been feeling besieged, believing that his presidency is being tormented in ways known and unknown by a group of Obama-aligned critics, federal bureaucrats and intelligence figures — not to mention the media, which he has called “the enemy of the American people.”
That angst over what many in the White House call the “deep state” is fomenting daily, fueled by rumors and tidbits picked up by Trump allies within the intelligence community and by unconfirmed allegations that have been made by right-wing commentators. The “deep state” is a phrase popular on the right for describing entrenched networks hostile to Trump.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), an advocate of improved relations between the United States and Russia, said he has told friends in the administration that Trump is being punished for clashing with the hawkish approach toward Russia that is shared by most Democrats and Republicans.
“Remember what Dwight Eisenhower told us: There is a military-industrial complex. That complex still exists and has a lot of power,” he said. “It’s everywhere, and it doesn’t like how Trump is handling Russia. Over and over again, in article after article, it rears its head.”
Stories from Breitbart News, the incendiary conservative website, have been circulated at the White House’s highest levels in recent days, including one story where talk-radio host Mark Levin accused the Obama administration of mounting a “silent coup,” according to several officials.
Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist who once ran Breitbart, has spoken with Trump at length about his view that the “deep state” is a direct threat to his presidency.
Advisers pointed to Bannon’s frequent closed-door guidance on the topic and Trump’s agreement as a fundamental way of understanding the president’s behavior and his willingness to confront the intelligence community — and said that when Bannon spoke recently about the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” he was also alluding to his aim of rupturing the intelligence community and its influence on the U.S. national security and ­foreign policy consensus.
Bannon’s view is shared by some top Republicans.
“It’s not paranoia at all when it’s actually happening. It’s leak after leak after leak from the bureaucrats in the [intelligence community] and former Obama administration officials — and it’s very real,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “The White House is absolutely concerned and is trying to figure out a systemic way to address what’s happening.”
Trump got the narrative off Sessions and the Russians by blaming Obama for tapping his phones during the campaign. Since Sunday afternoon the Gray Lady has been topping its homepage with
"Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim."

So, yes. We are in full-on Watergate territory, with no hint that the conflict will be resolved anytime soon. It is as if Nixon would have publicly revealed back in 1972-1973 that he was being hung out to dry by the CIA.

The upside to Trump tantrums is that it is exposing the deep state to a little sunshine. Prior to Trump's election you would have had to have read a Peter Dale Scott book on the JFK assassination to be familiar with the term, though it did see the light of day in the excellent reporting done by David Kirkpatrick during the Egyptian Revolution and then the Morsi coup -- but that was in relation to a Egypt not the "exceptional" U.S.

The deep state has long been acknowledged in the mainstream, just not in the media (unless you call Hollywood blockbusters part of the mainstream media). In Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) the U.S. Government is depicted as a colossal shell, the kernel of which is a "deep state" (HYDRA) whose goals are the opposite of the citizens the government purportedly represents. The Robert Redford character represents the slick soulless "permanent government" official who operates the control board. 

This is how the world works. Ask yourself how it is people voted for the "peace" candidate in 2008 & 2012 and ended up getting a Cold War 2.0 and a re-occupation of Iraq nonetheless. Or here's another one: How is it that Wall Street banks got bailed out, made whole, while occupants of Main Street got pink slips and lost their pensions?

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