The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Deep State vs. Trump

So, Flynn is gone. This was foolish on Trump’s part, because the odds of a Logan Act prosecution were zero.  Telling Russians to chill could easily be argued to be a good thing: If they hadn’t, it would have meant the Russians would have inflicted their own sanctions on the US, which, presumably, Americans wouldn’t want.

Not that I care if Flynn is gone. The man was an insane warmonger on the subject of Iran.

Meanwhile, there are constant leaks, always un-named and virtually never with any actual evidence.

Trump pissed off both the intelligence community and the foreign affairs community, and they want him taken out.

There were two stories used to delegitimize Trump during the election: He’s a Fascist (Hitler reborn, he’ll put you all in camps and exterminate you), and He’s a Russian Pawn.

Both are being run heavily now. The idea is to have a constant stream of scandals until he’s so damaged that he can be impeached by Republicans and replaced with Pence. (And if Pence goes down, you get Paul Ryan, who will be worse than Trump on many issues. There is no Nice Daddy to be gotten by impeaching Trump, children. They’re all bad people.)

The intelligence services are anti-Trump. The police are pro-Trump and where the military stands is uncertain.

The power circle here is as follows: Police > Intelligence > Military > Police. When there’s a confrontation, that’s who tends to win. Intelligence tends to beat the military, the military the police, the police the intelligence services. (That’s assuming unity. When you have a coup like the one in Turkey, where the military is not unified, the police can beat them.)

The question here is the loyalty of the FBI, which is the primary investigative arm of the police forces. If loyal, Trump should use them hard, to find who the leakers are. These ‘unnamed sources” have to contact journalists, and thanks to Obama, it is legal to wiretap journalists to find out who leakers are.

Once they are found, Trump should not just make examples of them, he should use them as a reason to break at least one agency (probably the CIA, far weaker than the NSA), with the understanding that there is enough material to break others if they continue.

I do not say “should” in the sense that I hope Trump does; I am agnostic. Unlike many left-wingers, I do not think that just because bad actors oppose Trump (a bad actor), they are now my friends. I’m a left-winger: No intelligence agency is my friend.

I am, however, genuinely concerned by the anti-Russia hysteria being whipped up. It is shameful and could easily lead to real, hot war with a nation which is much weaker than the US and its allies, except in nuclear terms. A nation whom has also noted that it will use nukes in case of a war.

Pushing Russia up against a wall is in almost no one’s interest and is profoundly dangerous.

I am dismayed that so many on the left are willing to collude in this anti-Russian hysteria, but I suppose I shouldn’t be, nothing more is to be expected.

The game will continue, and, yes, if Trump goes down, it will be because of a concerted campaign by the intelligence community. However much you may hate Trump, if you think that’s a good thing, you are delusional.

Note that I have no position on what happened or didn’t happen. I don’t know. I want proof. After Iraq, I don’t take “the intelligence community’s word” for anything. Only a fool would.

(Also, this:


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  1. Peter **

    There were two stories used to delegitimize Trump during the election

    There are a lot more than two now, though. Everything seems to be fair game for “The Resistance” (the use of the article suggests an internal cohesion and organization that is nowhere to be seen). There are his dark plans to end constitutional government and start wars, of course, but also his chaos, racism, past vulgarities, incompetence, kleptocracy, nepotism, mental and emotional health, body language and even that telltale sign of a dangerous fascist, his hands. All are more or less of equal importance or at least equal time in headlines, and all are conclusive evidence the man has to go.

    This frantic and fevered shrieking about everything he says and does may be giving succor to many, but it is also letting them pretend the progressive half of the country is united and powerful when it clearly isn’t. There’s no need to worry about the long or even medium term when there is one and only one priority. Strategies and policies? That’s easy. Whatever Trump is for, we’re against, even if it means getting in touch with our inner John Birchers and giving anonymous leaks from a hostile intelligence community the same credence as the global scientific consensus on climate change. Who can afford to care about things like media bias and accuracy when Hitler is lighting matches outside the Reichstag?

    Maybe he deserves it all, but there seems to be a lot of co-opting going on here. Those thoughtful efforts we saw during and immediately after the election to figure out why so many people supported him and to confront issues like jobs and income inequality seem like relics from a bygone age. We’re back to dismissing them all as stupid racists one should never be expected to share an apartment with. I have no idea where this is all going, but if he is crippled or worse, I suspect the kind of progressive who will emerge triumphant is the kind who looks to Hollywood celebrities for leadership, who thinks feminism’s priority is the plight of female senior executives in boardrooms and who takes heart and inspiration from Hillary Clinton’s middle-of-the-night tweets.

  2. Gaianne

    Ian, what you say, seems to be true.

    Still, consider your words: “The man was an insane warmonger on the subject of Iran.” Since for the near- and mid-term, Iran and Russia are allies out of strategic necessity, Flynn’s position was hardly consistent with good relations with Russia, and it may be that Flynn’s resignation is not the setback for Trump that we think. Of course, the media is crowing with glee–but how does that play in flyover country? Maybe not so bad. What I mean is that Trump has not actually lost much, and he may have a back-up plan–a gambit.

    Or not. That will only be revealed in time.

    The US is in the midst of a color revolution right now. The fingerprints and the tactics of CIA-sponsored color revolutions of the recent past in countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Lebanon are apparent. Firstly, the branding–some form of logo (the pink pussy hats!)–which appears as if spontaneous, but is too ubiquitous and to well-marketed to be anything but astro-turf. Secondly, the protests, populated by surprisingly well-to-do people who consider themselves hip, modern, media-oriented, and tech-savvy. Thirdly, a program of protest that is utterly vague in its support for “freedom”, well-crafted in its thought-free emotional appeal, but laser-beam focused on the removal of the politician who is to be overthrown–and with no thought of what should come next (the protesters do not need to know about that and are not encouraged to think about it*). Fourthly, plenty of money coming from somewhere–we are only guessing that it comes from George Soros and the CIA’s own cut-outs, as it has in the past.

    Like with previous color revolutions, the protests are only the media/marketing face–the public “undermining of legitimacy.” Pressure comes from all possible directions, such as from the intelligence agencies, as we are seeing right now.

    The Russians have successfully beat back two color revolutions within Russia. What did Putin and Trump really discuss? The Russians never say everything, but they do drop hints. Trump may actually have a fair idea of what he is facing and some idea what to do about it.

    Or not.

    It seems that the Russians believe global war to be inevitable–and they are trying to delay it. They have–through clever diplomatic manoeuvring–delayed it a least twice already. They seem–though this is less clear–to be thinking about how to fight it, and how to keep it from going nuclear.

    On all sides of the Atlantic there is agreement that time does not favor the US. Thus the neo-cons are frantic. They need their war while it still seems winnable (they think the Russians will simply cave).

    The Russians do not give away their strategy. Certainly they will not cave. There are not that many non-nuclear global-war scenerios out there. The best developed that I have seen comes from the Archdruid Report, and of course Greer is American. He imagines an American expedition of choice–nothing unusual there–met by a sharp, conventional, regional combat that knocks the edge off American conventional power without posing any direct threat to Europe or the American continent that would require a nuclear response. A fine balancing act indeed! But the Russians have to be thinking about this.

    The Syrian war provides hints. the Russians, along with their allies, have achieved conventional superiority in Syria. They are now slowly winning the war. The Pentagon has no interest in fighting the Syrian government, as the Russians control the air. Only the CIA and the State department want to slog on, arming jihadis. The Pentagon and State seem to agree on creating a jihadi state in eastern Syria, which the Syrian government cannot (yet) prevent. But as the war is eventually won in the west, it will move east. The American position will continue to decline. If Syria brings effective anti-aircraft weapons east, will the Pentagon still support the war then?

    What did the intelligence agencies reveal of themselves in getting rid of Flynn? This is key in utilizing the resignation as a gambit. What tactics can the agencies really bring to their color revolution? How can Trump counter them? Till now, the agencies have consistently under estimated Trump. Did he underestimate them?

    Okay, so I am not really bringing the threads of my thought back together as I had hoped. But I think your cycle of power is important: And if you are right, then Trump actually has the upper hand, right now. Also, he has strong support in the military (the deeper you go, the stronger it is), and the military is–oddly–the one institution in America that still gets widespread respect.

    So it is not yet over. Far from it.


    PS I hope this is not a duplicate. When I tried to post my own post disappeared and I got back a post by one Peter** So I went back a page in my browser, copied my post, made it a document–as I should have done in the first place–and repost this now. Hope this works.

    *No protesters I know are giving any thoughts to a President Pence or a President Ryan.

  3. Ian Welsh

    Having some trouble with caching and so on, as a result your comment probably won’t show up. If it doesn’t, don’t repost, it’s there.

    Edit: spent hours on this and some other issues. I’ve been dragging my feet on doing a full retrofit of the site, but I’m going to see about getting it properly fixed in the next couple weeks, most likely including a site migration to a new hosting company.

  4. ks

    Oh for the love of…please stop digging. I see we’re back to the ZOMG! hot war with Russia! trope but this time instead of being a specious anti-Hillary musing, it’s now being used to berate those bad! bad! intelligence operatives who are busting the Trumpsters blatant lies regarding a Russian connection. Sure, the overall Anti-Putin thing is overdone, but for many months, certain folks pooh poohed the Russian connection to the election and Trump’s campaign/administration as a “conspiracy theory” and the Trumpsters have made fools of them yet again.

    In typical fashion, the Trumpsters are desperately playing the deflection game and pointing to the leaks rather than them being caught lying. While it makes sense for them to do so, it’s ridiculous for others to keep following them down the rabbit hole.

    Of course there are going to be more scandals because, even excluding the Russian thing, Trump is, and has been, a walking talking scandal. Trump U? Trump Foundation? Etc… Hello? The “Deep State” won’t have to do any heavy lifting as the whole thing appears pretty apparent. They are probably already looking at bank records and the targeted folks would be wise to start looking for competent lawyers to represent them.

  5. Hugh

    A Washington truism is that it is not the crime but the coverup. Flynn is gone not because he did something potentially illegal. He’s gone because he covered it up and lied to Pence and Trump’s inner circle about it. Even thieves need a certain level of trust to operate. Or to cite a related rule of power: while lying downward (to your underlings and the rubes) is expected, lying upward (to your bosses) is a cardinal sin.

  6. Jill

    First, these leaks are not like the leaks of wikileaks or other high profile leakers who are trying to expose wrongdoing of the powerful. In those cases, the public saw the content of the leaks. In this case we have the word of anonymous sources who may have heard what someone else told them from the NSA. This isn’t leaking, it’s part of a coup.

    These are all bad people, but clearly, as Willy Crystal stated on behalf of his whole class of neo-liberal neo-conservative disgusting creeps, he’d like the deep state to run our govt. I do not want this. Trump is really a fool to throw people who stood by him to the wolves. He should expose the leaks in full himself.

    If he isn’t in charge and is being threatened as some claim, he should go to the people and ask for help. I didn’t vote for him. I can’t stand him but I will stand by a civilian govt. any day over the deep state dictatorship. I am a liberal and to the best of my ability, I will not allow the destruction of my govt. I will use every peaceful means to oppose a deep state dictatorship. I have been doing it for years under Bush and Obama and I will do it under Trump.

  7. Duder

    I think your assessment of whether the FBI can be brought solidly behind Trump is the best calculus of whether a palace coup by the intelligence community can be carried out successfully. All signs point towards the color revolution model. If they manage to create the spectacle of popular protest in immediate (violent) confrontation with the state apparatus the police will have little recourse unless they have an ideologically unified mass at the center. Which is the question of the FBI. It is unclear where this all might be headed in the short/medium term. Color revolutions are also a pesky social phenomena for the deep state to control in the long term. They often have many unforeseen consequences that intelligence planners rarely take into account. When you give people expectations for the future, they are hard to control.

  8. Ed

    What I have missed seeing, and perhaps Ian or someone here hasn’t, is what Trump did to piss off the intelligence community. They’re coming at him awful hard for it to simply be politics as usual.

    It seems extraordinarily dumb of him to get into this. Of all the groups he has to fight (the GOP establishment that won’t support his infrastructure plans, the Dem establishment, the bureaucracy, the tech industry, etc.), they would seem to be the ones he could most easily buy off, at least temporarily. Instead, they’re at the front of the line…

  9. Peter

    It’s good to see at least one snowflake return to correct the record here. Most everyone keeps wandering off into reality and recognition of the actual state of affairs which threatens what little remains of our republic.

    I can’t help but worry because we have a sizable segment of our population and most of the chattering classes along with the entrenched exceptionalists in the establishment who are displaying an extreme form of tunnel-vision and don’t seem to care.

  10. “Anti-Russia hysteria” meaning “concern that Russia is mucking around in our elections”? Or “concern that Russia is wanting to re-annex large parts of the old Soviet hinterland that doesn’t want to be re-annexed, possibly triggering NATO into WW3 if somebody doesn’t warn them off”? Or do you mean “concern that the Russians may have compromat on Trump”?

    I don’t think there’s hysteria about Russia. I do think there’s justified concerns that the Trump administration is not taking these issues serious, and may be behaving in a way in respect to Russia that may be in his personal best interests but are not in our national best interests. I do think there are a variety of issues where we and the Russians can cooperate effectively, but I also think they have no business meddling in our politics and we need to slap their hand severely for doing so.

  11. gozu

    how exactly does the intelligence community have more power thsn the military in the event of a coup? for one, they are not warriors, with only a handful of special forces within their ranks, of whom most are probably loyal to Trump. Secondly, they are far outnumbered by the military and the police, also there are 40 million trump supporters armed to the teeth with guns who will be very pissed off if there is a coup. I think it’s pretty clear that the bulk of the military would back Trump. The IC would are fools for going down this path, but perhaps it is for the best, so we have clear casus belli to hang the deep state in the streets from lamp posts.

  12. Hugh

    The Intelligence Community has a $70+ billion budget. It does not want anyone rocking that boat. I think Trump picking Pompeo to head the CIA was a mistake because Pompeo is an idiot. Since most of the noise is coming from the CIA’s Russia/Eastern Europe divisions, Trump should have put someone in place who would conduct a quick, down and dirty purge of them.

  13. Ché Pasa

    Our Trotskyite observers over at, as usual, have the fullest and largely correct analysis of what is going on.

    I think they are putting too much faith in constitutional remedies such as impeachment, however. I suspect we’re beyond that, and impeachment would take too long and wouldn’t result in a preferable outcome.

    We’re probably about to enter a period “without a president.”

    The tragedy is that there are so many things Trump could have done to secure his rule even in the face of IC agitation against him. He could have done the right thing for the people; he hasn’t. In fact he’s acted to alienate more and more of them, generating more and more opposition, and putting himself and his regime in an untenable situation.

    Blaming anybody but him and his crew will fail.

    Until yesterday, I gave him till the end of the month. Now, it looks like he’ll be lucky to last till the end of the week.

    But you never know. Chaos often has unexpected outcomes.

  14. Will

    I swear to God I have never been as embarrassed to be an American as I have been over the past handful of days. The kleptocracy and raw graft of the Clintons? The Darth Vader like Dick Cheney? Bush’s obvious inadequacy? The unsophisticated nation taken in by their smooth talking two-timing lover Obama? All of these I endured with stoic acceptance.

    But this hysteria? This is embarrassing. How gullible do these people think we are? And do these imbeciles really want to start up a new cold war with Russia? Really? Over what exactly? Clinton’s emails? Crimea? Bullshit.

    It ought to be a damned law that you couldn’t hold a position of authority over fighting men or make policy that governed them unless you could prove that you were in at least one real live fist fight in your life. Preferably one that you lost. The worse your outcome the better. At least then maybe we could have people in charge who understand the seriousness of confrontation. People who understand the seriousness of getting good men killed.

    Clinton’s emails and Crimea ain’t serious. Even if the absolute worst case imaginable turns out to be true that email release wasn’t serious in any sense except that anyone supervising that private server operation is too god damned stupid to hold high office. Anyone expecting the Russians to meekly accept us instigating what amounts to a coup and taking away one of their more important military installations is too god damned stupid to make foreign policy.

    We have a bunch of children running this joint and I am not talking about the current POTUS.


  15. Tom

    RE: Turkey,

    The people put down the coup, not the police. They seen what happens when the military takes power and they took to the streets and put it down.

    RE: Syria,

    The Regime is still losing, and its ranks are now filled with Shia Militias from abroad. Also the Jihadists doing the beheadings are those Shia Militias. For all the media hype, IS beheads fewer people in a year than Mexican Drug Cartels do in a week and less than what the Shia Militias do.

    Also the majority of atrocities and civilian deaths are attributed to the regime and the evidence is overwhelming and all over social media.

    RE: The topic,

    Game time. Trump either sics the FBI on the CIA and lets the FBI take the NSA as well, or he goes down hard.

    For all its boasts, the CIA is an incompetent organization. The FBI has busted moles within it numerous times and had better intelligence assets in the USSR than they did. If the FBI sides with Trump, its game over for the CIA and NSA.

    The military will likely just stay out of it so it can claim clean hands.

  16. Dan Lynch

    Two sources are reporting that the firing of Flynn was not what it appeared to be.

    Both Pepe Escobar and the Washington Free Beacon are saying that Flynn was fired because he was attempting to sabotage a peace deal with Iran.

    If true, that puts Trump in a better light. Nonetheless the feud with the deep state is very real and will continue. There can only be one survivor.

  17. Arthur

    Could someone please answer this question: If the deep state wants Trump out why didn’t it do something about him before the election? Everyone knew exactly what one would get with Trump in the White House. But nothing was done about it. Didn’t any of these folks go with the dirt to the Clinton campaign? And if they did why didn’t the ‘Clinton Mafia’ do something with it? I do recall reading that the Obama White House had some dirt but decided to take the high road. Figures.

    Anyway, there’s probably not much to worry about in the long run. It might be close to 70 this weekend in Chicago. I got a feeling nature will soon be taking care of all our little problems.

  18. StewartM


    “Anti-Russia hysteria” meaning “concern that Russia is mucking around in our elections”?

    By what? Paying bloggers and trolls to post propaganda online, just like the Clinton people did? ($5 million, in fact).

    Have you forgotten that the US routinely mucks around in other countries elections and governments, including that of the Ukraine, to install rightwing governments? Our interference has included mucking around in the affairs of not only developing countries (remember, both Syria and Iran had democracies, until the CIA killed both) but allegedly also our First-World Allies (Australia and the UK in the 1970s, against Whitlam and Harold Wilson). Compared to what the Russians are accused of doing, even if true, it’s weak sauce.

    Or “concern that Russia is wanting to re-annex large parts of the old Soviet hinterland that doesn’t want to be re-annexed, possibly triggering NATO into WW3 if somebody doesn’t warn them off”?

    Please. We’re talking about areas were Russian is widely spoken, that were historically part of Russia until recently. It is and never has been critical to US interests if Russia annexes the Ukraine or Belorussia or even the Baltic states. We were never going to fight WWIII over it during the Cold War, we weren’t going to fight it even over countries outside the old Soviet Union–Hungary in 1956, or Czechoslovakia in 1968, or and we’d be insane to do so now.

    A good parallel (I believe Ian has noted this) is that if Texas became once again an independent republic, the US would probably regard China or Russia stepping in to form alliances with Texas as an act of aggression directed at the US. It’s an apt parallel because Texas was indeed once and independent republic plus once was part of the Confederacy (and with the latter, the Lincoln administration made damned clear that it regarded any foreign recognition of the Confederacy as an act of aggression).

    The expansionary power at work here is not Russia, but Western finance, who wants access to these countries in order to loot them. NATO expansion is a aimed at…what country exactly, save Russia? (And please note: NATO expansion continued when Russia was weak and incapable of invading anyone, so how exactly was it NOT aggressive?). It’s the US and the West who are being the aggressors and who are needlessly risking WWIII here much more so than Putin, over matters which are not in their core interests.

  19. That is the cause – but the reason. The reason is to tell everyone else who is the boss – and thinking is not in their job description.

  20. StewartM

    Not that I care if Flynn is gone. The man was an insane warmonger on the subject of Iran.

    Right now, Trump’s appointees give me the impression he is simply incompetent. It’s a cacophony of perspectives. If the US is going to indeed pursue a coherent policy of having better relations with Russia, then you need to ditch the anti-Iran and Islamophobic parts, and also ditch David Friedman’s rabid pro-Zionism, at least insofar as the Middle East is concerned. Likewise, you can have a good economy for the people who voted for you if you have advisors like Puzder and Mnuchin.

    If you retort “Well, Bannon will call the shots and boss them around” then why have people in-place who may to try sabotaging many of your policies?

  21. StewartM

    Oops, should read “can’t have a good economy for the people who voted for you if you have advisors like Puzder and Mnuchin”.

  22. StewartM


    What I have missed seeing, and perhaps Ian or someone here hasn’t, is what Trump did to piss off the intelligence community. They’re coming at him awful hard for it to simply be politics as usual.

    I ask the same question. Seeing that Trump is for pretty much all the things they want (gung-ho on mass surveillance, rabidly anti-Snowden (“kill the traitor”), etc) I have the same problem why there is this insurmountable issue:

    You could argue that an Entente with Russia would threaten DoD funding, but Trump is on record for sinking even more moola into the corporate welfare “defense” spending. Besides, Bannon has talked about a future war with China over the South China Sea, plus predicts another Middle East War to add to the five we’re already in, so there’s going to be plenty of opportunity to make profit off selling smart ordinance “defend US interests”.

  23. S Brennan

    Now that they have Flynn’s scalp, the truth comes out, it was all bullshit.

    Oh and the “lied to Pence” bullshit…Pence is not in the chain of command, until Trump is deposed. Pence was wrong [possibly illegal] to attempt to interject himself between the National Security Advisor and the president he serves. Pence got Pompeo his job and Pompeo is there for Pence…NOT Trump, it is a palace coup by neocon, all to the polite applause of “liberals”.

    Indiana [R]’s were glad to be rid of Pence as he was seen as a climbing backstabber…you don’t get that reputation for a couple of incidents, it’s Pence’s SOP.

    That said; effective the night of Trump accepting Flynn’s “resignation”, I stopped defending Trump, as Trump effectively gave in to the neocon/neocolonists and is no longer to the left of Hillary on foreign policy, the election has been negated.

    This article backtracks the WaPo line and put’s out disinformation meant to provide cover.

  24. Gaianne

    Ian, thanks for your work fixing the site.


  25. different clue

    A couple days ago, Naked Capitalism’s co-blogger Lambert Strether wrote a long comment on this subject of enough value that I will copy-paste it here.

    Lambert Strether
    February 14, 2017 at 2:50 am
    Sketching some first thoughts, because the situation is overly dynamic and has a lot of moving parts–

    Yep, the sharks smell blood in the water. (The tank is the Beltway, however.) Some links on Flynn:


    Michael Flynn Resigns as National Security Adviser NYT

    This to me is the important story, from (Kushner’s) Observer:

    In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

    Since NSA provides something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our government, what’s being kept from the White House may be very significant indeed. However, such concerns are widely shared across the IC, and NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.

    What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.

    None of this has happened in Washington before. A White House with unsettling links to Moscow wasn’t something anybody in the Pentagon or the Intelligence Community even considered a possibility until a few months ago. Until Team Trump clarifies its strange relationship with the Kremlin, and starts working on its professional honesty, the IC will approach the administration with caution and concern.

    I previously warned the Trump administration not to go to war with the nation’s spies, and here’s why. This is a risky situation, particularly since President Trump is prone to creating crises foreign and domestic with his incautious tweets. In the event of a serious international crisis of the sort which eventually befalls almost every administration, the White House will need the best intelligence possible to prevent war, possibly even nuclear war. It may not get the information it needs in that hour of crisis, and for that it has nobody to blame but itself.

    So factions within the intelligence community have gone on strike (so much for “democratic norms”) A few things.

    1) Chuck Schumer issued the same threat (“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”). So we’re looking at, as it were, full spectrum dominance within the political class by the “intelligence community.”

    2) So far as I can tell from the Schindler article linked above, Flynn fucked up, maybe on about the level of Petraeus or Democrat Sandy Berger, who hid classified documents in his pants and smuggled them out of the National Archive. (Of course, a lot of people in the Beltway were very happy to see Flynn fuck up, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t. And while we’re at it, can somebody please point me to a fully paid-up member of The Blob who isn’t crazy pants? Or corrupt? And isn’t the Logan Act a dead letter?)

    3) To me, looks like a well-executed play in a game-plan that intelligence community slash Democrat factions have been running since at least mid-summer. (At this point we remember that “American statesman” Leon Panetta was Obama’s chief of state, head of DoD, and head of the CIA. So I would be very interested to know who appointed WaPo’s nine anonymous sources.) Clinton calling Trump a Russian stooge in the debates was one play, the 25-page “dodgy” dossier was another play (now, apparently, SIGNINT is “confirming” parts of it, so that’s still on the boil), the call for “faithless electors” to be briefed in the (farcically bad) JARA memo was another play, this is another play. No doubt impeaching Trump or getting him to resign by peeling off “moderate Republicans” would be a touchdown).

    4) Note that Clinton made her charges of Trump treason in the debate in as direct a fashion as possible, so voters have aleady had the chance to take all this into consideration, at least at a high level (and since we can never see any of the intel, the high level is all we ever will see.) So, if the winning play in the gameplan is removing Trump from office, we’re seeing the intelligence community reversing an election result.

    5) If the intelligence community can (a) vet a Presidential candidate after he is elected but before he takes office, and (b) can reverse an election result based on evidence the public cannot see, then the intelligence community is, in essence, a new fourth branch of government not accountable to the people in any way. Anybody who thinks the military will go back to the barracks after staging a coup is delusional. In the same way, anybody who thinks the intelligence community will go back to its SIGINT and HUMINT is delusional. Once they have achieved this change in the Constitutional order, it will never be undone.

    6) It’s been amazing to see what liberals have been willing to throw away for Clinton’s sake. Apparently, having a vehemently pro-life Pence as President isn’t a problem for them. Nor is turning the intelligence community in a Praetorian Guard and giving them veto power over voters’ choice of a President a stumbling block. And it can’t be that they really believe Trump is a fascist, else for example Trump’s nominee to the VA wouldn’t be approved 100-0. So it’s all about their power and their rice bowls, plain and simple (and, I would argue, the war with Russia that The Blob wants, which amounts to the same thing). It would be wonderful to spot a good faith actor in this mess, but frankly, I’m stumped.

    7) So this is what a legitimacy crisis looks like when liberal Democrats foment it. It would be entertaining if it weren’t so horrific and sad.

    8) Of course, all the Democrat establishment really had to do was:

    a) Get 10 Democrats on the road doing Town Halls, just like Sanders is doing, talking about universal programs that deliver concrete material benefits, especially to the working class

    b) Make voter registration a core party function.

    That would do it. Boom, Senate 2018, Presidency 2020. Rather than do something simple that connects with voters, they’re fomenting a slow-moving soft coup and a change to the Constitutional order from inside the Beltway. Swell. Just swell.

    Reply ↓

    Clintonites everywhere, including the Clintonites in the House and Senate, would prefer a President Pence over a President Trump. If the Clintonites can’t get their President Pence, they would prefer a President Ryan over a President Trump. In the short-to-medium term, I hope we can ” crush-kill-destroy” the power and influence of the Clintonite Senators and the Clintonite Representatives.

    In the longer term, I hope we can purge, burn and exterminate every trace of Clinton and Obama supporters and their fellow travelling filth, sewage and garbage from out of the Democratic Party.

  26. different clue

    ( Sorry, Webstir . . . I had to include my technical description of Clintobama supporters at the end of my comment for the sake of scientific accuracy.)

  27. S Brennan

    You value that fact free dribble? And Lambert? a guy who actively censors every blog he’s ever touched…sheesh.

    Again; WaPo says it’s accusations against Flynn were bullshit; which means Lamebert’s efforts to be a waterboy for the mainstream media look rather foolish. There is no need for the media to go further; the election has been negated, the Bush/Obama administration’s policies remain in place.

  28. Billikin

    There were a lot more than two stories being used to delegitimize Trump during the campaign. One pair of phrases that I like is his opponents taking Trump literally but not seriously but his supporters taking him seriously but not literally. I suppose that his opponents did not take him seriously because they thought that he would not be elected. But it now seems that we should have taken him literally. As for taking him seriously, he doesn’t seem to know what he is doing. That gives the Deep State an advantage.

  29. brian

    I see this is as a ideological war between Empire USA and Nation USA. The United States was never made to be an empire but for the past 20 years has been run increasingly as one. Leader of the Free World, Obama declaring himself a President for the World, care about those outside our borders – those are all part of Empire USA. And the global Empire USA is being run by the CIA.

    This is a push-pull between these two sides with this integral, existential, decision in the middle. One side legitimately fears that if Empire USA goes to far it will lead to World War. They would rather we deal with Empire USA from within then have a foreign alliance have to handle it for them. However, those who work to support Empire USA this is also a existential question because without Empire USA they do not exist.

    I expect it to get ugly. I was reading more about the Fourth Turning today and this crisis is expected to last until 2030 at least. I’m currently thinking about how best to survive it. It’s never a good idea to take no sides whatsoever. What would you do if you were in the run-up to the Civil War, The Revolutionary War, in Great Depression etc?? How would you thrive? I would expect the outcome to be a default on the national debt, a regress on extra-territorial islands, a limited nuclear exchange, China dropping Communism and going to a more traditional heaven mandate system, break up of Europe, and USA giving up on Empire.

    In some decades years go by and in some years decades go by. The Fourth Turning.

  30. Hugh

    Don’t you think that if the evil Russkies had “eyes and ears” inside the Situation Room the NSA (IC) and DOD (MIC) would have A) informed the FBI for investigation and prosecution, B) informed Trump directly, “You have a mole.”, or C) leaked the name or names to the press. You think that the NYT and WaPo wouldn’t have a field day writing stories about this?

  31. tsisageya

    What now?

  32. Ché Pasa

    The United States was founded as a domestic empire. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the Imperial US has only been around for the last couple of decades. It has always been Imperial.

    Now the US is not just Imperial but hegemonic. Without the Soviet Union as a brake — if not a balance — the US government’s determination to be the global hegemon is causing greater levels of chaos at home and abroad. This would be true no matter who was in the White House. It’s baked in.

    As the current White House crew is learning, there’s no way out of it.

    So what are they to do?

  33. brian


    Trump has a win at all cost, never give up mentality. Much of the hegemonic system is based on norms, rules, and unwritten laws. I expect Trump to break these rules, even if it breaks the system, to do what no one else has done before. I suspect a crisis will happen and Trump will let the system fail rather than bail it out on the backs of the public. Trump believes in the power of positive belief thinking (Norman Peale) and that will allow him to go where leaders haven’t gone before, to flush the system by letting the to big too fail… fail. And that will break the system.

  34. ks

    Hilarious. I see that some have become so desperate to prop Trump up that they are misrepresenting the WaPo’s Jan 23rd story about Flynn while ignoring the one just posted today which shows why Flynn had to go. He got caught lying to the FBI. The additional stuff like lying to Pence and hanging him out to dry was just icing on the cake.

  35. different clue

    Well , S Brennan, either I have misunderstood the actual purpose and meaning of what Lambert Strether has written . . . or you have.

    I think you have. But “which one of us has misunderstood” it . . . is a decision which every other reader here will decide for hermself. And one of us will gain some credibility and one of us will lose some. Let Darwin decide.

    Meanwhile, Naked Capitalism remains one of my few favorite politiblogs as of now.

  36. different clue

    Oh, and . . . Oooh! Oooh! Here’s another post from another one of my favorite politiblogs! (Just the linkie this time). It too is about the rolling IC coup underway against President Trump.

    I know I am not the only one here who reads Sic Semper Tyrannis. I know Mark From Ireland also reads it. I also betcha that Ian Welsh reads it his own self.

  37. S Brennan

    Apparently Hugh;

    Diff-Clu, ks & Lamebert think that when you discover a mole, the first thing do is coordinate a massive press release.

    and yeah, I am laughing at their studied ignorance. Either they are dumber than the average rock, or so imbued with partisanship that the most idiotic counterfactual ideas seem to pose the only solution.

  38. Hugh

    In our cockamamie world, I am a little surprised Trump has not “apprenticed” the NSA. That is, invite the head of the NSA and the top three in the NSA to the White House; take them to an impromptu news conference; as cameras are rolling, ask the head of the NSA if he will swear and sign a written affidavit to the effect that he has and will continue to give Trump the most sensitive information at the NSA’s disposal; if he declines or waffles in any way, Trump can do his signature “You’re fired! Get him out of here. Revoke his security clearance, and ban him from the NSA.”; then he can pass on to the next until he gets a satisfactory response, usually the third or fourth guy.

    This would be different from Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre in that it would be done in public and those fired would be caught on camera refusing a lawful request of the President. Oh yes, and Trump’s base would eat it up.

  39. V. Arnold

    different clue
    February 16, 2017

    What’s that saying? What goes around, comes around.
    Flynn’s removal was the first part of the coup against Trump.
    What disturbs me most of all; there is no mass movement against the treasonous CIA/NSA/FBI in the undermining of the democratic process.
    If ever there was a more clear picture, that U.S. democracy is indeed broken; likely irreparably…
    The single biggest failure of Usian’s in their brief history.

  40. Gaianne

    Dan Lynch–

    Your link to Sputnik News is very interesting. Thanks.

    I don’t think the Trump presidency will be decided in one battle. It is still too soon to know if Flynn was a defeat or a gambit.

    To us, the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI are all parts of the Borg. But from where Trump sits they are DIFFERENT parts. The CIA is against Trump for his stands on both Russia and jihadis. The CIA supports jihadis, and only intermittently pretends to fight them. Daesh itself was a joint Saudi-CIA co-creation and its targets are Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Russia, in that order. Getting along with Russia is also a big no-no. The NSA has been publicly non-committal–there is a chance it is mainly neutral. The FBI seems split, more pro-Trump the farther down you go.


  41. Tom

    @ Gaianne

    No one supports Daesh and all such claims have been disproven.

    Daesh was initially founded in 1989 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Afghanistan as a newspaper, morphed into a militant organization in Jordan in the early 90s, thrown in prison for a few years, then released by the current King of Jordan in the late 90s because he thought they were harmless.

    If anyone is to blame, blame the King of Jordan for being a dumbass and letting them out.

    As for the NSA:

    It does SIGNIT and its agents work in air conditioned offices with no glamour attached. If it needs to physically tap something, they subcontract that out to the Military. They aren’t getting involved in this unless they have irrefutable and damnable evidence against Trump.

    Given they have access to everything, yet have not prevented one terrorist attack, its clear they have no real purpose and can be disbanded.

  42. StewartM


    In our cockamamie world, I am a little surprised Trump has not “apprenticed” the NSA.

    I concur, but you realize you are dealing with accomplished liars here, don’t you? They would probably just heartily agree with Trump’s demands then continue doing business as usual (I recall, Jimmy Carter told the spooks to stop sharing data with apartheid South African intelligence and they kept on doing it anyways). A key attribute of the deep state is that, like the Prussian army before Hitler, is the belief “*we* know what’s best for the country”. You started seeing that in the CIA at least as far back as the Bay of Pigs.

    If you want to echo a business model, the “hostile takeover” model might work, where you simply fire everyone above a certain level and replace them wholesale. That is what some have contended the McCarthy witch hunts of the 195s0 were all about–to purge the entire bureaucracy of anyone with an inkling of sympathy for leftist causes. This is hard to do now we have a tenured professional bureaucracy, before the reforms that ended the old “spoils system” one could easily do just that and replace people wholesale with your people.

    The downside of the spoils system is of course that you can easily end up with incompetents and hacks, and this president’s appointee list does not inspire confidence.

  43. Tom

    Jimmy Dore is on a roll. Subscribe if you haven’t already.

  44. Peter


    Gaianne is just another example of the multitude of people who seem to have their heads screwed on properly about much of our dilemma but became TH fanatics after 9/11. They know there is no real evidence to support their claims about the non-existent US/AQ connection so they chant this meme as a repeating mantra to reassure their fellow travelers.

    It seems that when the lifetime exceptionalist conditioning of even resisters of US imperialism met the reality of 9/11 there was a burning of wires causing a short circuit to a more palatable explanation of those events. The fact that the US was weak, unprepared and incompetent which allowed this attack to happen cannot be rationalized with the view of the Hegemon as omnipotent so there must be an alternate reality to embrace.

  45. Tom

    Might not be a bad ideal to mobilize the Guard from States that voted for him and move them to block the CIA and shut them down.

  46. Gaianne


    “No one supports Daesh and all such claims have been disproven.”

    Daesh gets a lot of good weaponry, and it is coming from somewhere. Most of it is American. They are also well funded. They are the most powerful jihadi group in the Middle East.

    As a general point, note that no army–regular or irregular–persists for long without support from somewhere. Guerrillas and terrorist groups are no different.

    There is more. The US has admitted to supplying weapons to “moderate” jihadi groups that have several times turned their weapons over to either Daesh or Al Qaeda. To a reasonable person this would sound like a conduit–a supply chain.


    9/11 is not on-topic for this thread. But it might be noted that the official narrative violates the laws of physics and is therefore false. What did happen and who did it is a different problem–although the absence of an investigation is itself a hint.


  47. Charlotte W

    Amazing to Trump – anti Trump web discussions imploding. Naked Capitalism is balancing their hatred for all things Clinton with the possibility that Trump is not a devil.

    This thread looks about the same… some people are so wedded to the propaganda war launched against Trump that they cling to the hatred – ignoring that Clinton and the DEEP STATE are our real enemies. If they hate Trump… that means he’s on our side.

    Watching the left implode over indoctrination is hair raising. The GOP is one State away from a Constitutional Convention. Think of that. The left has painted itself into an identity politics corner… wherein they have narrowed the DNC chair to a Muslim or Dominican.

    And you think black Americans will come out in force for a white woman – Warren? or a Black woman married to a white man? [that California rep]

    Black America tasted power – and will NEVER come out in those numbers again. And white America won’t be fooled by a “focus group” creation like O – again.

    So pick your poison.

  48. S Brennan

    Charlotte W;

    While I voted for Trump to keep the she-demon from starting a war with the Russians [which she surely would have done] and the faint hope [now dashed by Schumer] of infrastructure investment, I have to disagree with point “If they hate Trump… that means he’s on our side”.

    The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend…as America’s dalliance with radical Islam starting in the late 70’s has so often proven.

    That said; watching so called “liberals” willingly, publicly and frequently fellate the CIA, calling for a Staci-state and attempting a war with Russia tests the limits of Orwellian doublespeak as today’s so called “liberals” would be, in a sane world, referred to as fascists. And I don’t mean that as insult, just an attempt at accurate description based on their observed behavior.

  49. Tony Wikrent

    Basically, we’re fucked. The USA founders wrote that we would be, once the concept of public virtue has been lost. And public virtue–at least according to the scholars I’ve read–meant that an individual was willing to constrict their narrow self-interest when it conflicted with the general welfare. Well, we’ve had nearly a century now of the rich funding and nurturing movement conservatism, with British and Austrian economic doctrines which insist that the greatest good arises when everyone is allowed to follow their own self-interest. The most extreme, of course, is Ayn Rand’s objectivism and its open embrace of selfishness as virtue.

    The left is ineffective because it focuses only on the problems that arise from capitalism, having lost entirely any understanding of, or regard for, republicanism. Which is a great ironic tragedy, because my reading is that republicanism–with its emphasis on the importance of public virtue–is far more amenable to socialist forms of economic organization than is democratic capitalism.

  50. chris collins

    Ian at this point you being hypocritical and contrived. You said this summer to be OK with the Hillary and DNC leaks to be happy truthful info was out there. We have the same thing here but we’re upset because it leaked to the mainstream press instead of wiki leaks? Flynn admitted to hiddeing the conversation and Flynn is a bad guy, I think your letting your hate of the deep state blind you.

    Russia would be a great friend and I would prefer that. But not while Putin’s in charge. Not because he’s evil, no , because he is smart. He doesn’t want to be our ally he wants the upper hand, He needs to be kept at arms length, we don’t want a cold war but we don’t want to embrace Putin either.

  51. V. Arnold

    chris collins
    February 18, 2017

    Sorry, couldn’t let this go.
    Putin does have the upper hand, because, he’s smart; smarter than the morons YOU elect into office.
    Other than that; you’re post, chris, is incomprehensible/nonsensical.

  52. Tom

    @ Gaianne

    ISIS is self-funded and relies on captured weapons plus whatever it can manufacture. The only provable trade deals that exist for it are with the Syrian Regime for whom it sells oil for cash until recently when it began destroying the Gas Lines supplying the Regime after capturing them.

  53. V. Arnold

    February 18, 2017

    What ever you’re smoking, I want some.
    You’re so devoid of facts and reality as to be delusional.
    What the hell are you reading for information?
    Never mind, I don’t want to know…

  54. Tom

    @ V Arnold

    The information comes from the large files captured by the Delta Force in 2015 when they raided the home of ISIS’s oil chief.

    We also have the files of ISIS’s Chief Strategist after he was killed by the FSA and which were posted here.

    We have a pretty good ideal of how ISIS forms and gets its money. What we don’t have is the names of all its shadow members who form the real leadership. Baghdadi is just a figurehead and easily replaceable.

    I have been following this group since 2004 when it became heavily involved in combat with the US Occupation of Iraq. It is decades old and not a phenomenon that came out of nowhere in 2014.

  55. Tom

    Things are going to go down in Germany. Never mind Muslims account for less than 1% of all terror attacks world wide.

    It goes without saying that if Europe would shut up on religion, stop bombing Muslim Countries and stop supporting dictators, and stop fear mongering, they wouldn’t have these problems.

  56. V. Arnold

    @ Tom

    You supply no links, no sources, nothing!
    Are you bloody stupid?
    But of course you are…
    Go away to a place that matches your ignorance; you’ll not fly here…

  57. Peter


    I don’t think you can sell the BS that there is any sameness in these leaks. The wikileaks were of private communications released by a foreign news source and probably leaked by an insider. This was verbatim documents showing what was written by the subjects but our partisan IC tried and failed to spin this as a Russian job to cover for the Red Queen by deflecting public attention using their now infamous unidentified IC sources.

    What we are seeing now from our IC is a serial attack using supposedly highly secure government information. The facts about Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador was already reported but the unidentified IC gang that attacked him were selling their interpretation of what was discussed and it’s not accurate. This and other leaks of Trump’s supposedly secure communications are being fed to the feral media to undermine the presidency.

  58. Tom

    @ V Arnold

    The information is on this blog back from 2015, Ian even wrote an article on it after I linked the find.

    The raid on ISIS’s finance chief was also posted around the same time and is still on this site as well as googlable. It was a major news story after all.

    Now kindly sit down.

  59. S Brennan

    Tom; your links [which I wasted my time checking] are unrelated bullshit, V & I don’t usually get along well, but in this case we agree, you are full of it.

  60. V. Arnold

    S Brennan

    Indeed, thanks.
    I quit wasting my time on that git.

  61. Can someone point me to one solid, specific, detailed, and verified charge against the Trump Administration re Russian ties, or even Trump-free “hacking” of our elections, etc.? My cousin and I were watching the news, yesterday, and we were both wondering the same things. Viz., when is the other shoe going to drop (via specific, actionable charges) OR ELSE when are the Democrats going to stop whining about the Russians and/or ‘treason’ by the Trump Administration?

    We also agreed that the Democrats’ whining about nebulous boogey men is going to erode their political power, further, assuming nothing comes of it.

    I believe that Trump can de-classify all of Flynn’s intercepted phone calls. It’s a mystery to me why he doesn’t do so (redacting personal stuff, I suppose), just like it’s also a mystery to me why the IC boogey men don’t leak implicating details, if, in fact, there are any.

  62. Gaianne


    It certainly seems that Daesh makes some of its own weapons, but that is just one source.

    Note: A guerrilla operation cannot survive long depending on captured weapons. That can only be a temporary phase–and it is never a happy one–other means must be found.

    I am not going to let your word “proven” pass by. Very little in this world can be proven.

    Evidence is another matter. There is certainly good evidence that Daesh was raising money, by–among other things–selling oil through Turkey.

    Tony Wikrent–

    Your good points should not pass without acknowledgement. When selfishness pervades over a commitment to public good, then political, social, and cultural life deteriorates quickly. One thing you can do is focus your attention on those networks where trust is still possible, and keep those networks sound and trustworthy.

    And of course you are right: The general outlook is terrible.


  63. Billikin

    metamars: “We also agreed that the Democrats’ whining about nebulous boogey men is going to erode their political power, further, assuming nothing comes of it.”

    Well, whining about nebulous boogey men has been working for the Republicans, hasn’t it? 😉

  64. @ Billikin

    Can you be more specific? There were recurring fantasist claims regarding Obama, during his reign. Most notably, that he was a Muslim and that he was a Communist, and that he wasn\’t an American citizen. (Obama\’s Kenyan origin, BTW, was a myth begun by Obama\’s literary agent, and that Obama acquiesced to for years. See

    I would call these fairly specific claims, for which the \’evidence\’ was mostly ideological and partisan irrationality. Furthermore, there was neither mainstream media echoing of these claims, nor were the politcally elite opponents (i.e., prominent Republicans) repeating these claims. (Doubtless, there were some exceptions.)

    I am referring to vague claims (what, exactly, was \”hacked\”, e.g.?? what substantive subjects were discussed, and how, exactly, did this violate the Logan Act and/or hurt Hillary\’s campaign??) who have unknown sources (IC is also too vague), that get relentlessly flogged by prominent Democrats and echoed in mainstream media. That \”patriotic\” leakers feel justified in leaking only vague conclusion, but no transcripts, is a laughable proposition.

    My cousin and I both feel that this sort of vagueness will eventually blow up in the faces of Trump\’s opposition. Their unwillingness to \”put up or shut up\” suggests that they are likely desperate, and don\’t have any impeachment or article 25 level of dirt on the Trump Administration.

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