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Wed Sep 5, 2018, 11:18 AM

Deepening State

“So full of artless jealousy is guilt, it spills itself in fearing to be spilt.”
Shakespeare; Act IV of Hamlet


Former federal prosecutor John Flannery made reference to the above quote Tuesday evening on MSNBC, during a discussion on Bob Woodward's new book. It is the second time that he has referenced Queen Gertrude's famous line, I believe, the last time being on CNN. The quote sums up the manner in which a guilty person's paranoia saturates their thought processes, and is projected upon everyone around them until it spills over.

Though less often quoted, the queen's previous line is essential for understanding this: “To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is; Each toy seems a prologue to some great amiss ….” This identifies the paranoid thinking that makes every new thing seem hostile and threatening. And that includes every report on CNN and MSNBC, every report in the New York Times and Washington Post, and every new book that exposes the dysfunction and corruption that defines Trump's presidency.

Hence, Trump becomes the second president to claim that Woodward is wrong – even lying – about how the people around him actually view him. Reagan was the first to go there, a place that Nixon never journeyed. Yet Reagan's outburst was limited to but one person who Woodward documented recognized Reagan as corrupt.

Woodward is a curious character. I have never found him to be as open and honorable a journalist as Carl Bernstein, his partner in helping to expose the series of crimes known as Watergate. The concept of “Deep Throat” being one person – Mark Felt – requires the long arm of rational thought to wrench itself out of socket. Woodward, as an Officer in Naval Intelligence, met regularly with Felt in the basement of Nixon's White House, shortly before taking Felt's recommendation to “retire” and become a journalist. Felt despised the press.

To believe that Felt alone was Deep Throat not only requires one to believe that the assistant director of the FBI fiddled with newspapers on Woodward's porch, but totally ignores Donald Santarelli. But this is the ancient history of my youth. Fair to say that Bernstein's famous report on intelligence assets in the media influenced my understanding of that era.

While I do not particularly like Woodward, I absolutely respect his work, and recognize that he is influential in the world of politics. His four books on the Bush-Cheney era were important reads, if only because they documented Woodward's unusual access to various levels of information. Hard to believe a mere journalist would enjoy such access. Very hard, indeed.

Last week, I was invited to dine with an old friend, who was a professor at a “radical” west coast university way back when. The other guest was a retired “energy” engineer, who had spent years in prison as a consequence of his activities as a member of the Weathermen. Though you really don't need an old Weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, I agreed with this fellow's firm belief that Trump is going down in 2019.

The strength of Woodward's new book isn't that it will confirm what three aging members of the Democratic Party think about Trump. Each of us is already engaged in activities to promote our party's candidates in November, and recognize that this is essential for insuring that the various investigations bring about justice. Rather, the book will reach those who are the “undecideds.” Some might have voted for Trump in 2016. Others might be independents, who are recognizing that only Democratic candidates can put Trump in check. The more attention the book gets in the media, the better for us. I look forward to buying the book next week.

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Deepening State (Original post)
H2O Man Sep 2018 OP
Hekate Sep 2018 #1
malthaussen Sep 2018 #2
H2O Man Sep 2018 #7
eleny Sep 2018 #9
H2O Man Sep 2018 #12
eleny Sep 2018 #16
H2O Man Sep 2018 #18
eleny Sep 2018 #19
H2O Man Sep 2018 #21
malthaussen Sep 2018 #3
erronis Sep 2018 #5
H2O Man Sep 2018 #10
ProfessorGAC Sep 2018 #22
saidsimplesimon Sep 2018 #4
H2O Man Sep 2018 #11
coeur_de_lion Sep 2018 #6
H2O Man Sep 2018 #13
coeur_de_lion Sep 2018 #15
H2O Man Sep 2018 #17
coeur_de_lion Sep 2018 #20
coeur_de_lion Sep 2018 #23
smirkymonkey Sep 2018 #8
H2O Man Sep 2018 #14
JHan Sep 2018 #24

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 11:43 AM

1. Always an excellent read, H2O Man. When you bring up Hamlet, though...

...I recall that it ends in a stage covered in blood.

I am rather hoping Mueller unleashes the Furies and brings down the whole damn family.

Thank you, thank you for your thoughtfulness.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 01:12 PM

2. How big will the stage be, though.

That is the question. Although I personally believe that the RW nutjobs are, as a group, too cowardly and disorganized to resort to coordinated violence, there may be small groups willing to kill -- and eventually die -- for their Fuhrer.

-- Mal

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Response to Hekate (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 10:20 AM

7. Right!

I'll start by noting that Hamlet was the first play that I ever had a role in. That was a long time ago, but it made an impression on my young mind. I can still remember some of my lines -- though at the time, I was worried that "stage fright" would erase them. (grin)

That was, interestingly (at least to me), about the time that the young Weatherman was planning to blow up an investigator's car. He identified this investigator to be his group's most dangerous enemy. At the time, he believed that "revolution" was both justified and necessary. The investigator, who was known nationally for conducting trainings for the FBI and CIA, was a bit smarter than the group of young men and women, however, and was able to catch them and send them to prison.

That investigator was/is my uncle. I remember my aunt and cousins having to stay at our house at the time. I remember the "drills" we took back then, just as I remember Hamlet. I remember everything. It's funny, in a strange sense -- my daughters grew up thinking of my uncle as a substitute grandfather, filling in for my dad. They think of his as a giant Teddy Bear. Although he and I do not agree on politics, we are very close these days. I've forgiven him for making it so hard to me to buy pot back in those days.

The former Weatherman is now a moderate-to-liberal Democrat. He was 100% for Hillary, and did not like Bernie at all. He said that Trump is correct in his belief that the Deep State is seeking to remove him, and that this is a good thing. He also worries about what will happen next year, on the national stage, when Trump is removed. He recognizes the extreme importance of the Southern Poverty Law Center's coordination with law enforcement, because there are groups that are convinced that efforts to protect Trump are both justified and necessary. And that is very dangerous.

We need to realize that non-violence is the only path to treating the sickness in our society. We don't want to experience a version of "the Troubles" of Northern Ireland.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 10:34 AM

9. I can't shake the notion that the Op-Ed is by Woodward

That it's a compilation of statements from his saved recordings of the interviews he conducted with various people for this latest book. Given his intelligence background and the relationship he no doubt enjoys with the Times I can see him being behind the Op-Ed. Coming right after the book release it feels like part of a two step process to educate the public and pressure the president and congress.

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Response to eleny (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 10:55 AM

12. It was well-coordinated.

I think it is most likely that the op-ed was a group operation, and not authored by any one person. Then it was edited by someone who works in coordination with Woodward (likely his editors, as it was, exactly as you note, similar to what he puts his name to). And there was also, of course, coordination between some at the Washington Post and the NY Times. It was a powerful example of how to destabilize the administration in a manner that, as you again note, puts pressure on congress.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 11:34 AM

16. Regardless of who released the information the content is frightening

Thom Hartmann has just shared his opinion on the meat of the Op-Ed. He asserted that a coup has taken place. There's an unelected group inside the White House which has been making executive branch decisions for many months.

This isn't the way you deal with an incompetent president. There's a process that involves the 25th Amendment or impeachment. There's no solace to be taken from a group that's telling us that they've got things in hand and taking care of business for the billionaires.

So I have to ask - Who are the advisers to the president? Were they Trump's choices or suggested choices? If they were suggested, who urged the choices?

If Woodward compiled the Op-Ed then he knows. And if not, the Times knows. At least, they know who submitted it to them.

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Response to eleny (Reply #16)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 12:05 PM

18. Very interesting.

I have great respect for Thom Hartman. In this instance, I would suggest a slightly different variation on this …..it is still an incomplete coup, in process. I'd compare the op-ed to the messages that the military generals were sending to the US in the summer and early fall of 1963, saying they were prepared to remove Diem from office if they got the okay signal. That was part of a coup in process.

If we took the worst parts of Diem's personality, and combined it with his brother's ruthless brutality and sister-in-law's evil, we can see how these generals came to their decision to remove the sociopathic leadership. Yet, within the military, there were plenty of soldiers willing to follow that leadership. And that coup, once completed, created a vacuum that allowed for various other terrible factions to gain power.

As you point out, our Constitution allows for the orderly removal of a president. There are two options found there. It is curious that anyone would hold that following the Constitution would create a "constitutional crisis." A rational person might conclude that failing to follow the Constitution can only result in crises.

And yes, Woodward knows who submitted the op-ed. The Times editors needed five days to clear it in advance of its being released, and it was agreed it would run the day after the Washington Post released the bits from Woodward's book.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #18)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 12:34 PM

19. Hartmann isn't asserting a crisis if the Constitution is followed

He's saying that we're in a crisis because it's not being followed. But I might be misunderstanding your point!

I didn't know that the Times had the Op-Ed five days ahead of it publication. The timing with the book is eye popping. Woodward surely wasn't concerned about sales. So there's something else afoot.

More on Hartmann's view. He's suspicious that it could have been written by Pence's speech writer. Pence has for decades believed that god wants him to be president. Pence has been steadily marching towards that "destiny". He rarely holds opinions contrary to Trump and when he does he's careful that they're made in such a way that Trump may never learn about them.

I suppose that it's as good a guess as any this early after the Op-Ed. But if we use the old "follow the money" rule, Pence being a handmaiden of the religious right and the billionaire class he's an obvious choice.

We're in for a world of hurt even without a single shot being fired so far.

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Response to eleny (Reply #19)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 12:50 PM

21. Right.

The op-ed stated that the group opted not to follow the Constitution, in order to avoid the potential crisis.

I agree that Pence is involved. Some of his family members have started to refer to him as "President Pence." I combine that with a few of the words and phrases in the op-ed, and think it is clear. Also, a few months back, in an essay I posted on this forum, I stated that Pence and the UN Ambassador were coordinating with a small group to remove Trump before 2020.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 01:15 PM

3. It's hard to believe there are still any "undecideds,"

... but human nature is subject to the tyranny of the bell-curve.

It's interesting that so many people (according to Mr Woodward) apparently despise Mr Trump but are willing to work for him anyway. I do wonder what that says about their characters. I find the excuse that one is hoping to contribute a little sanity unconvincing, especially when attributed to someone known as "Mad Dog." Maybe the title of John Dean's book is more appropriate: Blind Ambition.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 01:53 PM

5. I am in awe of the intelligence and knowledge of this general forum and, of course,

these direct conversation participants.

"The tyranny of the bell-curve", indeed. Being a bit of a social scientist/statistician I am familiar with the "normal" distribution but I will never see this concept discussed on a general forum or especially on one catering to the RW.

Thank you all!

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 10:38 AM

10. Exactly.

I view the group behind the NY Times op-ed, etc, in the context of group behavior as explained by Erich Fromm in several of his books. The willingness to accept and participate in some "bad," while excusing those behaviors as a mere part of an effort to do some ill-defined "good." And we should be fully aware of the consequences of that mind-set.

We witness another version of it when Democrats say, "Boy, 'ole George W sure spanked Trump in his speech at McCain's funeral." Yet Bush and his ilk are not our friends. No, they stole the 2000 election. They inflicted the neoconservative war in Iraq on the world. And some of them -- Pence and Bolton, for example -- are anti-Trump. They wish to have another Cheney administration. They are not our friends or allies.

What we need to do is to take advantage of the cracks within the republican party. There are some sane republicans at the grass roots level, that do not like Trump nor Cheney. Appeals to them is a good thing. But anything beyond that should be limited to placing pressure on the fractures in the party, designed to render it as weak as possible. And, at this point, the potential is there.

The independent voters, and those groups that did not turn out in 2016 as they had for President Obama, are the "undecideds" that we must appeal to for November. And that is actually a substantial number of voters. Though not all are the usual "undecided" voting population, our campaigns must help them make the only correct decision: vote for the Democratic candidates.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 01:00 PM

22. "I view the group behind the NY Times op-ed..."

I'm with you MM. I think this was a group effort. One person puts their name behind it to NYT to extend the legitimacy, but i think this is more than one person talking.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 01:20 PM

4. This is a well done piece on journalism, imo.

I read your post earlier this AM. Coming back, it was far better than my brief scan allowed. The reference to Shakespeare is spot on.

(My laundry and home chores are being neglected in order to keep up.)

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Response to saidsimplesimon (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 10:49 AM

11. Ah, I can relate

to that! Though I don't like to air my dirty laundry in public, my washer recently shit the bed -- it was only 23 years old -- and so I had to head to the nearest town to do a few loads. (Luckily, both my drier and clothes line still work.) Then I worked on the lawn and did some house work. By the time I was finished, I was too tired to respond to posts here. Plus my dogs were demanding that I play with them.

My oldest son stopped in during the late evening hours. The current events have him asking, at least twice a week, if this is not different than any other chapter in our nation's history? He finds it both fascinating and frightening. I remind him that history does not repeat, but rather rhymes, and so this is both similar to, and distinct from previous chapters.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 10:15 PM

6. Your OP turned out to be prescient

Considering the strange Op Ed in the NY Times today.

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

[link:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html]

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 11:00 AM

13. Odd, that.

Reminds me of the ancient days of the infamous Plame Threads, in a strange way. There was some curious timing back then, as I recall, when things were noted here, and then reported in the media within 24 hours. How, I ask, could that be?

Another question for you: what do you think the mood is within the White House? Might there be growing tensions? The spilling of paranoia? Though I'm not a betting man, I'd wager that the next three days will be intense.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 11:28 AM

15. I'll bet you

that in the WH currently and for the foreseeable future there is and will be, a man with a strangely orange face who is apoplectic 90-100% of the time.

That may very well be a further nail in the coffin, as apoplectic people always make bad decisions -- even worse than when they are merely ranting and raving on twitter as per usual.

Also, I wonder if making the orange one apoplectic was actually the intent of that person or persons who wrote the letter to the editor for NY Times.

Yes my brother you have always been strangely prescient. Even when it comes to foretelling my personal future.

You could make a fortune as a psychic.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #15)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 11:46 AM

17. There are times

when I suspect that the answers to virtually all of life's mysteries can be found in Paul's song, "Your Mother Should Know." Yet, although she was born a long, long time ago, I don't believe this is one of them.

In 99.99% of people, personality is constant. Hence, if an investigator is investigating a Nixon or a Trump, it is relatively easy to predict -- with little chance of error -- how they will react to various stimuli. For they are limited to reacting to, rather than responding to, events as things unfold. With today's technology, that makes the cycles (or "rounds," if one likes boxing) more rapid. And that can make the news reports darned near overwhelming in the sense of the huge amount of information the public is exposed to. Yet behind it all, the investigators know that personality is constant.

I'm sometimes tempted to post essays that go into greater detail on things like this. But, unlike in the Plame Scandal era, there is less active interest to be found here when it comes to an old man's ramblings.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 12:49 PM

20. No way I agree with this paragraph:

I'm sometimes tempted to post essays that go into greater detail on things like this. But, unlike in the Plame Scandal era, there is less active interest to be found here when it comes to an old man's ramblings.


I say post away. And when it all goes down just the way you said it would, just bask in the appreciation of a grateful DU community.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 02:45 PM

23. I'll say it again

If you're holding back for fear of not finding a sympathetic ear, stop holding back.

Your country and DU need you H.

Spil it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 10:24 AM

8. K&R

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 11:00 AM

14. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2018, 04:53 PM

24. +++++ I'll be giving it a read this weekend.

I already got the sense that Trump is surrounded by opportunists like himself.

I've always seen Woodward as problematic. His Iraq War apologia is disturbing since we now know how Cheney ignored the expertise of Top Iraq Experts in the CIA, instead relying on lesser qualified analysts to reach conclusions which fit in with Cheney's agenda. Cheney even refused to use red teams. Then there was the Plame Affair ( for which Woodward apologized).

I imagine this will confirm what we already read in Fire and Fury, or even Omarosa's book. Given Woodward's gravitas, this latest Volume on a Dysfunctional corrupt White House cannot be easily dismissed as tabloid sensationalism or sour grapes from a former Trump insider.

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