Meanwhile, here's VDH, "Seven Days in February":
Trumps’ critics, left and right, aim to bring about the cataclysm they predicted.It's sickening.
A 1964 political melodrama, Seven Days in May, envisioned a futuristic (1970s) failed military cabal that sought to sideline the president of the United States over his proposed nuclear-disarmament treaty with the Soviets.
Something far less dramatic but perhaps as disturbing as Hollywood fiction played out this February.
The Teeth-Gnashing of Deep Government
Currently, the political and media opponents of Donald Trump are seeking to subvert his presidency in a manner unprecedented in the recent history of American politics. The so-called resistance among EPA federal employees is trying to disrupt Trump administration reform; immigration activists promise to flood the judiciary to render executive orders inoperative.
Intelligence agencies had earlier leaked fake news briefings about the purported escapades of President-elect Trump in Moscow — stories that were quickly exposed as politically driven concoctions. Nearly one-third of House Democrats boycotted the Inauguration. Celebrities such as Ashley Judd and Madonna shouted obscenities to crowds of protesters; Madonna voiced her dreams of Trump’s death by saying she’d been thinking a lot about blowing up the White House.
But all that pushback was merely the clownish preliminary to the full-fledged assault in mid February.
Career intelligence officers leaked their own transcripts of a phone call that National Security Advisor–designate Michael Flynn had made to a Russian official.The media charge against Flynn was that he had nefariously talked to higher-ups in Russia before he took office. Obama-administration officials did much the same, before Inauguration Day 2009, and spoke with Syrian, Iranian, and Russian counterparts. But they faced no interference from the outgoing Bush administration.
No doubt the designated security officials of most incoming administrations do not wait until being sworn in to sound out foreign officials. Most plan to reset the policies of their predecessors. The question, then, arises: Why were former Obama-administration appointees or careerist officials tapping the phone calls of an incoming Trump designate (and Trump himself?) and then leaking the tapes to their pets in the press? For what purpose?
Indeed, Trump’s own proposed outreach to Russia so far is not quite of the magnitude of Obama’s in 2009, when the State Department staged the red-reset-button event to appease Putin; at the time, Russia was getting set to swallow the Crimea and all but absorb Eastern Ukraine. Trump certainly did not approve the sale of some 20 percent of North American uranium holdings to Russian interests, in the quid pro quo fashion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did, apparently in concert with Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation — and to general indifference of both the press and the intelligence community.
In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that career intelligence officers have decided to withhold information from the president, on the apparent premise that he is unfit, in their view, to receive it. If true, that disclosure would mean that elements of the federal government are now actively opposing the duly elected president of the United States. That chilling assessment gains credence from the likelihood that the president’s private calls to Mexican and Australian heads of state were likewise recorded, and selected segments were leaked to suggest that Trump was either trigger-happy or a buffoon.
Oddly, in early January, Senator Charles Schumer had essentially warned Trump that he would pay for his criticism of career intelligence officials. In an astounding shot across his bow, which was followed up by an onslaught in February, Schumer said: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. . . . So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”
Schumer was evidently not disturbed about rogue intelligence agencies conspiring to destroy a shared political enemy — the president of the United States. What surprised him was how naïve Trump was in not assessing the anti-constitutional forces arrayed against him.
The elite efforts to emasculate the president have sometimes taken on an eerie turn. The publisher-editor of the German weekly magazine Zeit raised the topic on German television of killing Trump to end the “Trump catastrophe.” So did British Sunday Times columnist India Knight, who tweeted, “The assassination is taking such a long time.” A former Obama Pentagon official, Rosa Brooks, recently mused about theoretical ways to remove Trump, including a military coup, should other avenues such as impeachment or medically forced removal fail: “The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.”
The Atlantic now darkly warns that Trump is trying to create an autocracy. Former Weekly Standard editor in chief Bill Kristol suggested in a tweet that if he faced a choice (and under what surreal circumstances would that happen?) between the constitutionally, democratically elected president and career government officials’ efforts to thwart or remove him, he would come down on the side of the revolutionary, anti-democratic “deep state”: “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it [emphasis added], prefer the deep state to the Trump state.” No doubt some readers interpreted that as a call to side with anti-constitutional forces against an elected U.S. president.
Hollywood stars such as Meryl Streep equate the president with brownshirts and assorted fascists. A CNN reporter announced that Trump was Hitlerian; another mused about his plane’s crashing. Prominent conservative legal scholar Richard Epstein recently called for Trump to resign after less than a month in office, largely on grounds that Trump’s rhetoric is unbridled and indiscreet — although Epstein cited no indictable or impeachable offenses that would justify the dispatch of a constitutionally elected president. Earlier, Republican columnists David Frum and Jennifer Rubin had theorized that the 25th Amendment might provide a way to remove Trump from office as unfit to serve. The New Republic published an unfounded theory, based on no empirical evidence, alleging that Trump suffers from neurosyphilis and thus is mentally not up to his office.
Former president Barack Obama — quite unlike prior presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, who all refrained from attacking their successors — is now reportedly ready to join the efforts of a well-funded political action committee to undermine the Trump presidency...
I don't recognize American politics anymore. I don't recognize my country anymore.
But thank goodness for decent, clear-thinking people like VDH.